ImpactAlpha Open | April 18, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: Climate and gender alpha + a just cannabis economy

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly newsletter read by more than 20,000 impact professionals and enthusiasts.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • Climate and gender alpha
  • Going beyond ‘net-zero’ in public markets
  • Unlocking philanthropic endowments
  • A just cannabis economy

Ok, let’s jump in. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Climate and gender. 2X Global’s Suzanne Biegel is seeking to demonstrate the compound impact of climate + gender investing with Heading for Change, a new philanthropic fund. Biegel shared her diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer with ImpactAlpha’s David Bank, in part to underscore the urgency of her legacy project. 
  • India’s climate opportunityImpactAlpha contributor Shafali Anand went to an urban slum in India to report on investment opportunities for social and climate resilience. 

    • Climate and AI. Agents of Impact are leveraging artificial intelligence to better target climate capital in emerging markets, as Abt Associates’ Manuel Bueno and Darius Nassiry of Climate Finance Advisors detail in a guest post. 
  • Marketplace for outcomes. OutcomesX, cofounded by Phyllis Kurlander Costanza, ex- of UBS, and Jason Saul of the Impact Genome Project, lets corporations and governments buy impact outcomes in the form of “verified impact units” from nonprofits and social enterprises, David reports with Amy Cortese.
  • Unlocking endowments. The once-siloed endowments of some philanthropic foundations are increasingly reaching for social and environmental outcomes, reports ImpactAlpha’s Roodgally Senatus.
  • Follow the talent. Next-gen MBAs from Columbia, Yale and Northwestern in this year’s Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge are straying from legacy finance to “drive sustainability impact at scale,” David reportsThe winner: students from Gulu University in Uganda, for their proposed insurance instrument to underwrite crops vulnerable to climate change.
  • Impact muni bonds. The $66 million municipal bond to finance a light rail to improve downtown mobility in Kansas City has a “net positive” impact, according to Amir Khaleghi of HIP Investor, which is working with ImpactAlpha to highlight muni-bond issues with social and/or environmental significance.

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Agents of Impact

📈 Ariane Mahler, Veridien: Going beyond ‘net-zero’ in the public markets

“Net zero is not going to get us anywhere,” Ariane Mahler of Veridien Global Investors tells David Bank on the latest Impact Briefing podcast. “You need negative emissions, not just net zero.” Many “sustainable” ETFs loaded up on tech stocks to reduce their carbon footprints but don’t directly target climate solutions. Mahler is part of a new crop of public-equity investment managers looking for companies that derive the bulk of their revenues from cutting carbon.

  • Impact ETFs. Mahler says Climate Action, Veridien’s forthcoming exchange-traded fund (ticker: CLIA), will include names in construction, waste management, agriculture and forestry as well as transportation and energy that “have as their main focus the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • Keep reading Ariane Mahler’s profile and listen to the podcast.

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

Impact Briefing

🎧 On the podcast

Veridian’s Ariane Mahler joins David Bank to discuss why publicly traded companies that derive the bulk of their revenues from reducing greenhouse gases can outperform on impact – and returns. Host Brian Walsh the headlines. 

Deal Spotlight

💸 COVID recovery funding

Community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions played a crucial role in channeling Covid-relief funding to small businesses in low-income, rural and communities of color, where big banks and traditional lenders have little presence. The U.S. Treasury last week came through with more than $1.7 billion in grants to more than 600 CDFIs via the Equitable Recovery Program, the largest grant program to date of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund.

Six Signals

🚀 Pathways to commercial liftoff. The Department of Energy’s $8 billion investment in regional clean hydrogen is meant to catalyze regional demand pools for hydrogen energy and support cost-sharing across distribution and storage. The hubs are one way the U.S. government aims to “buy down risk” of hydrogen, nuclear and long-term energy storage to attract private investment. (FootPrint Coalition / Department of Energy)

🌎 Investing in climate justice. To invest in community resiliency, front-line communities are creating their own financial entities, including loan funds, land trusts and worker cooperatives. Examples include Catalyst Miami’s North Miami Community Investment Cooperative, Kheprw Integrated Fund, Seed Commons and Reinvest in Our Power. (Gloria Walton / The Solutions Project)

🌱 Corporate climate spend. More than 700 business executives ranked achieving “sustainability goals” their top corporate initiative over the next six months, ahead of digital transformation, market growth, and financial performance, according to Honeywell’s Q2 Sentiment Index. One in five corporations plan to increase investment in sustainability by more than 50%. (Honeywell)

⚡ Inside the microgrid market. Renewable energy microgrid companies are busy serving commercial and industrial facilities, data centers and utilities, according to executives who will participate in Microgrid Knowledge’s mid-May Microgrid 2023: Lights On! Conference in Anaheim, Calif. (Microgrid Knowledge)

😃 ‘Happy worker’ alpha. Harbor Capital Advisors is expanding its suite of thematic exchange-traded funds with a new product seeking to capture the link between happy employees and positive stock performance of smaller companies. (Bloomberg)

💨 A just cannabis economy. Growing cannabis indoors hurts workers and communities. One clear solution: Farm cannabis outside, where sustainable energy is abundant and lower startup and operating costs can reduce the steep inequities that nonwhite owners of businesses face in obtaining financing. (Slate)

Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

  • New York State Insurance Fund has an opening for a senior ESG and sustainability lead.
  • Global Partnerships seeks a Latin America portfolio officer in Bogota.
  • Stripe is hiring a finance associate for its carbon removal advance purchase initiative, Frontier.

Check out the full list of the week’s impact jobs on

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