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Banking on the Poor: Using the Off-Grid Solar Revolution to Unlock Low-Income Credit in Africa

The convergence of low-cost solar technology, nearly ubiquitous mobile phones, and increasingly robust systems for mobile payments has unleashed a wave of entrepreneurship and investment across Africa and Asia. Off-grid solar electric systems are leapfrogging decrepit utility grids in much the same way as mobile phones leapfrogged landlines. And solar power is just the start

Can this philanthropic investment model help close climate innovation’s “valley of death”?

For venture capitalists, the urgency of climate action has been no match for the urgency of reaping returns from their investments before the end of their 10-year funds. That has made venture capital a poor fit for many promising climate-change solutions, many of which may not pay off for a decade or more. And that has

This Group Wants to Make Impact Investing the New Normal for Wealthy Families + Podcast

Photo by Benji Aird. https://medium.com/media/931686666222591e0bb3ac6897853f11/href At gatherings in Davos and a series of World Economic Forum reports, Abigail Noble has tried to nudge the world’s largest asset managers toward impact investing. Her new goal, as the first chief executive of The ImPact: to tap more of the $30 trillion in private wealth held by the world’s

Foundation impact investing: a roundup of deals, policy changes, tools, research and lessons.

Photo by ©torange.biz Baltimore, Md. — There’s a tendency for some hardcore finance types to look down their noses at philanthropic foundations. Soft-headed. Concessionary. Anti-business. It may be time for a new view: Pioneering. Catalytic. Risk-taking. And in the nascent market for investments that generate financial returns through the creation of social and environmental benefits, perhaps

The New Alternatives: Holding Companies that Build Assets and Impact of ‘Infinite Duration’

Impact investing may have gotten off on the wrong foot, with venture-capital style private equity funds that generally have to be liquidated after 10 years. This season’s new style: Permanently capitalized holding companies with long-term ownership stakes in operating companies that deliver real benefits such as food security, clean water and climate mitigation. A recent example

Corporate ‘Toilet Coalition’ Takes Care of Business of Sanitation

As the classic children’s book says, “Everyone poops.” That makes the global sanitation crisis an opportunity for top global corporations to deepen their relationship with an emerging class of global consumers and their own employees. The UN estimates that more than a third of the world’s population, or 2.5 billion people, lack basic sanitation services

Social impact incentives aim to tilt businesses toward the needs of the poor

Companies often get fined for poor behavior. Now, some will get rewarded for behavior that serves the poor. A pilot program funded by the Swiss government will pay bonuses to Latin American businesses that can prove that they are improving the quality of life of their poor customers. The enhanced revenues should make such high-impact businesses