ImpactAlpha Open | December 12, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: AI for climate + ESG for crypto

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Two quick to-dos:

👋 Hop on tomorrow’s Call: Finding hidden impact and risk in muni bonds. Rampant misperceptions, and mispricing, of demographic risk in the $4 trillion municipal bond markets has left opportunities for impact, and alpha, hiding in plain sight. Investors are finding them with help from advisors, analytics and ratings that cut through legacy gaps in information and transparency. Go deeper with Activest’s Homero Radway,Kestrel’s Monica ReidR. Paul Herman of HIP Investor, Court Street Group’s Matt Posner and other Agents of Impact, Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. Last chance to RSVP

🤝 Subscribe to ImpactAlpha for Teams + get a free promo. Save big when you bring your colleagues on board with you. Join before Dec. 22 and receive a complimentary promo spot in The Brief in 2024 (a $3,500 value). Start hereNot ready for Teams? Grab an individual subscription with our special intro offer.

In this week’s Open:

  • AI for climate
  • ESG for crypt
  • Aligning strategy and structure
  • Investing in a post-affirmative action economy

Let’s get to it.  – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • AI for climate. Artificial intelligence for climate has been the talk of COP28, as Amy Cortese and David Bank report. By applying AI to meet the greatest existential threat facing humanity, they suggested, AI can perhaps absolve itself of being the greatest existential threat. AI’s killer app.
  • ESG for crypto. VentureESG’s Cessiah Lopez and Johannes Lenhard provide a playbook for crypto investors to drive a more sustainable and socially responsible financial ecosystem. Catch up equity
  • The Liist: Aligning strategy and structure. This month’s Liist of actively raising impact funds, compiled by Jessica Pothering and Lucy Ngige, highlightsmanagers who are aligning their compensation with their impact performance.
  • Impact funds of funds. Funds of funds are making a comeback as a way to deploy larger checks from global investors to smaller fund managers closer to the solutions, as Susan de Witt of the Collaborative for Frontier Finance explains. Go deeper.
  • Sustainability in private equityTensie Whelan and her team at NYU share tools that limited and general partners in private equity funds can use to drive value through sustainability. Take a peek.
  • BIPOC perspectives. On the latest Impact(ed) podcast, Eric Horvath and Lucas Turner-Owens speak with Essma Bengabsia of Annie E. Casey Foundation about how to engage historically marginalized communities in investment decisions. Listen in.
  • Investing in a post-affirmative action economy. CapEQ’s Tynesia Boyea Robinson spoke with civil rights attorney Farhana Khera to share practical tips for navigating the post-affirmative action legal landscape. Read the Q&A.
  • Chilling corporate action on climate action. Columbia University’s Cynthia Hanawalt and Denise Hearn dissect the antitrust claims being pushed by anti-ESG legislators. Check it out.

Sponsored by J&J Impact Ventures

⚕️ Coordinating health impact investment in developing economies

Increases in investment on healthcare in developing economies has not translated into overwhelmingly positive results. “Capital does not reach, at the necessary scale, innovative health ventures building sustainable solutions for impact in developing economies,” writes Judd Staples of Innovations in Healthcare. In research funded by J&J Impact Ventures, Staples spoke with impact investors about their healthcare investment approaches to learn about financing pitfalls and coordination opportunities. “An increase in intentional, coordinated action would significantly, positively impact the industry’s ability to gain ground back in increasing access to quality healthcare and saving more lives.” 

  • Call to action. In a post on ImpactAlpha, Staples makes the case for a health investment coalition to enhance deal sharing, facilitate funding transitions and support research. Innovations in Healthcare is laying the groundwork for the Health Impact Investor Coalition to help funders coordinate capital deployment and impact assessment, says Staples. “We encourage investors to consider how they can participate and contribute to this momentum.”

Agents of Impact

🏃🏾‍♀️ People on the move

  • Kauffman Foundation names Brandy Johnson, ex- of Compass Minerals, as chief people officer, starting in January.
  • John Guzek, ex- of SES ESOP Strategies, joins Ownership Works as business engagement manager.
  • Macro names Reena Singh, ex- of The Walt Disney Company, as executive vice president.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On the podcast

The numbers tell the story: overall attendance at COP28 is up threefold from last year – and the number of fossil fuel lobbyists is up fourfold. On the latest Impact Briefing, Amy Cortese explores the tale of two COPs in conversations with Marilyn Waite of the Climate Finance Fund and Dawn Lippert of Elemental Excelerator, who share their experiences this week in the green and blue zones. Host Monique Aiken has the headlines. 

Short Signals: What We’re Reading

📜 Progress in reimagining capitalism. Despite the “anti-ESG movement,” advocates for responsible capital markets have achieved “notable progress,” writes Chris Jurgens of Omidyar Network, which has provided funding. Among them: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s introduction of new rules to protect shareholder rights and enhance transparency in the private funds market. (Omidyar Network)

👷🏽 Pro-business, pro-worker agenda. The US South, in particular, has a long history of anti-worker policies including low wages, low taxes, few regulations on businesses and an opposition to unions. A pro-business, pro-worker agenda starts with raising minimum wages and protecting workers’ right to organize. (Economic Policy Institute)

📏 Measuring the impact of systems-level investing. Progress on impact measurement in recent years has focused on the individual investment and portfolio levels. A new framework from The Investment Integration Project guides investors on assessing their role in advancing system-level progress on issues such as income inequality. (TIIP)

🏦 Decarbonize your banking. Moving $8,000 from a “carbon-intensive” bank to a “climate-responsible” bank would achieve a larger annual reduction in indirect emissions than the direct annual emissions reductions of adopting an all-vegan diet. (Project Drawdown)

🍌 Pipeline of global food waste solutions. A new roadmap details $300 million in ready-to-fund catalytic investment opportunities to help reduce food waste, and food-waste related emissions, in China, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, the United States and Brazil. (FOLU, ReFED, WRAP and WRI)

🌿 Roads to (carbon) removal. Cropland soil and forest-based carbon storage are ready to scale. Direct air capture and biomass carbon removal need future development. A new report details county-by-county opportunities to help the US remove one billion metric tons of carbon per year and create 440,000 jobs. (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Get in the Game

💼 Step up

  • In London, Goldman Sachs is looking for an associate of private equity sustainability investing.
  • Mana Impact is on the hunt for an impact investment manager in Singapore.
  • Private Equity Stakeholder Project is looking for a climate director.

NEW! Visit ImpactAlpha’s Career Hub for more impact investing jobs. Contact us for job postings.

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