ImpactAlpha Open: COP watch + blending finance for the Global Goals

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Hi there, Agents of Impact! 

Welcome to the latest ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly roundup of essential reads and exclusive opportunities across impact investing and sustainable finance. Ready to go daily? Subscribe with our special intro offer.

👋 Agents of Impact Call: Finding hidden impact and risk in municipal bonds. High-performing schools in low-income neighborhoods. Lead pipe abatement in cities with engaged citizens. Disinvested communities ready to “spiral up.” On the next Call in ImpactAlpha’s Muni Impactseries, learn how to spot rampant mispricing of racial and climate risk – and overlooked opportunities for impact – in the municipal bond market. Join 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. This Call is open to all, thanks to support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. RSVP today

In this week’s Open:

  • COP watch
  • Blending finance for the Global Goals
  • Lessons in impact-first investing
  • Lobbying for good

Let’s jump in. – Dennis Price


Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • COP Watch. The dueling narratives of climate change have faced off at COP28, the two-week global climate gathering in Dubai. Global tipping points are nigh. The 1.5 degree Celsius scenario is dead. And energy security and economic headwinds are slowing adoption of renewables. But the case for optimism is more persuasive. ImpactAlpha’s original reporting from Amy Cortese and Jordyn Dahl:
  • Blending finance for the Global Goals. A novel financing mechanism has stacked a small guarantee and a larger first-loss reserve to raise $1.1 billion. The SDG Loan Fund backed by the German insurance giant Allianz and Swedish bank Skandia will expand financing for small and growing businesses, resilient agriculture and climate solutions in emerging markets, reports David BankHow it came together.
  • Sustainability alpha in private equity. Researchers at NYU’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business saw that private equity firms needed tools to help realize the value of sustainability. So they created one, as Tensie Whelan and Florent Nanse of NYU and Julien Marchese of Arthur D. Little explain. Discover the tool.
  • Lessons in impact-first investing. Ceniarth’s Diane Isenberg and Greg Neichin share a provocative roster of inconvenient truths from the $650 million family office’s decade of impact investing, including their disappointment with the level of impact-first commitments from other self-identified impact investing families. Collect all 10.

Agents of Impact

🏃🏾‍♀️ People on the move

  • AI Collaborative, a new initiative of Omidyar Group, appoints Martin Tisné, ex- of Luminate, as chief executive officer.
  • Ellen Maginnis, ex- of Volery Capital Partners, joins Predistribution Initiative as interim director of standards. 
  • Calvert Impact adds Lisa Winslow of Morgan Stanley Investment Management to its board of directors.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On the podcast

ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese speaks with Full Cycle’s Stephan Nicoleau at about what he’s expecting at the COP28 global climate summit in Dubai. Host Brian Walsh has the headlines.


Short Signals: What We’re Reading

💲 Tallying sustainably invested assets. More rigorous criteria caused sustainable assets to fall to $30 trillion, from $35 trillion in 2021, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. The tighter definitions halved the US tally, to $8.4 trillion from $17 trillion. The global total includes a 20% jump in non-US markets such as Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. (GSIA)

♀️ Gender + impact. Phenix Capital has identified more than 440 gender lens funds, including 224 currently raising capital (with a total target of $45.5 billion). One in five private equity and real asset impact funds in Phenix’s database have adopted a gender lens. More than one-third of Central and South American impact funds have a gender lens. (Phenix Capital)

⚡ Green growth in emerging markets. Dozens of green technologies in the built environment, energy, mobility, and agriculture are now lower cost than incumbent technologies across emerging markets. That delivers “green discounts” of 14-75%. The investable universe could reach $330 billion per year over the next decade. (Leapfrog Investments, Tamesek, CGAP)

🏢 Built world climate tech. Climate tech investments now make up 70% of the built world’s VC investment, according to a new report by European built world VC A/O, up from just a fifth five years ago. Climate tech investment in the “built world” has remained resilient in the face of the broader venture and climate tech downturn.

🏛️ Lobbying for good. Major corporations and special interests don’t stint on lobbying, but few nonprofits lobby on behalf of the underrepresented people they serve. A ‘lobbying for good’ movement of nonprofits, philanthropies and investors is crafting a new understanding of lobbying as a way to scale social good. (Stanford Social Innovation Review)


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