TGIT, Agents of Impact! Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open, your trusted source for must-read news and actionable intelligence on the impact economy.
Some politicians are trying to turn back the ESG tide. Sean Casten, the U.S. representative for Illinois’s 6th congressional district, shares one of the most cogent analyses of what’s actually going on. The upshot: Rather than embrace the tech-driven clean energy transition, politicians representing energy-extractive parts of the U.S. are fighting to subsidize failing industries that can’t compete.
Their foibles come at the expense of those caught up in the transition. “What about the folks on the Gulf Coast who’s livelihood depends on oil & gas extraction? Or in Appalachia who depend on coal? They are Americans. They kept us warm and well lit for the last decade. We owe them dignity,” he writes. “Their local leaders may not be standing up for them. It’s on the rest of us to step up and lead with love.”
In this week’s newsletter:
- Impact funds hit $1 trillion;
- Why VCs ♥️ ESG;
- How to mitigate carbon risks in your 401(k); and
- Why Biden’s marijuana policy is good for the economy.
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Ok, let’s jump in. – Dennis Price
Must-reads on ImpactAlpha
- VCs ♥️ ESG. Leading venture capital investors are adopting environmental, social and governance investment frameworks to drive value and reduce risks, ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese reports.
- QED’s Mike Packer dives deeper into fintech and ESG. (Open)
- Blockchain for good. In Medellin last month, eco-warriors were determined to demonstrate that blockchain is a gateway to more transparent and decentralized regenerative finance, as ImpactAlpha’s Dan Keeler reported from Colombia.
- Climate’s finance lab. The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance shows how Agents of Impact are reimagining finance with guarantees, alternative credit scoring, insurance, technical assistance and other financial tools, as Cortese reports.
- Mitigating carbon risks in your 401(k). Two guest posts on ImpactAlpha explore how companies – and employees – can reduce the climate-risk exposure of the roughly $8 trillion in assets held in more than 100 million 401(k) employee retirement plans across the U.S.
- Employee demand, availability of climate-friendly funds, and changes in policy are creating an opportunity to reduce emissions in 401(k)s, writes Jenna Nicholas of Impact Experience. (Open)
- There is a pathway to greening your 401(k), says Carbon Collective’s Zach Stein, whose five-step plan includes running your company’s current fund offerings through fossilfreefunds.org, part of As You Sow’s Invest Your Values toolkit. (Open)
- ICYMI: October’s ‘The Liist’ of impact funds raising capital right now. (Open)
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Agents of Impact
👩🏽🦽 Regina Kline of Enable Ventures is closing the disability gap
Regina Kline has seen the state of labor and employment for disabled Americans up close, as a lawyer representing workers with disabilities. With Sorenson Impact, Kline created Enable Ventures to invest in companies closing the disability wealth and opportunity gaps.
- Keep reading, “Regina Kline, Enable Ventures: Closing the disability gap,” by Amy Cortese, and like the story on Instagram.
🏃🏿♀️ On the move
- Declan Flanigan, the former head of Danish power company Orsted’s onshore wind business, launches renewable energy investment firm Bluestar Energy. Joe Condo and Cortney Zaret, also ex- of Orsted, joined Bluestar as head of development and head of accounting and administration, respectively. Dylan Reeves, formerly of General Electric Renewable Energy, joins as head of project delivery; and Dennis Meany, the former president of Lincoln Clean Energy, becomes president and board member.
- Sébastien Duquet, formerly with Symbiotics, joins SunFunder to lead its “Gigaton Empowerment Fund,” a $500 million blended finance vehicle, as chief commercial officer. “Since I first saw solar home systems on the ground in Morocco in 2003, I have been convinced that solar energy will enable hundreds of millions of people in frontier markets to get access to clean energy in an affordable way,” said Duquet.
- Nneka (Uzoh) Kibuule is promoted to principal at Aligned Climate Capital. Kibuule, also a co-founder of Greentech Noir, said “I have loved helping build up our venture team and leading investments into 7 startups over the last year and half, with many more to come.”
Impact Briefing (podcast)
🎧 On this week’s podcast
Host Monique Aiken has the headlines and ImpactAlpha’s David Bank catches up with Zach Stein of Carbon Collective to talk about how average investors with 401(k) retirement accounts can start to shift trillions of dollars away from fossil fuels and toward climate solutions.
- Listen to this week’s episode, and follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
- Take action. Stein lays out five steps you can take to green your 401(k). (Open)
☀️ Mega climate deals
Mega climate funds are finding mega climate deals. Multi-billion dollar funds from private equity giants like TPG Rise and Brookfield are deploying hundreds of millions (and even billions!) of dollars at a time to seize trillion-dollar opportunities presented by the energy transition.
- Transition traction. Brookfield’s $15 billion Global Transition Fund, the largest energy transition fund, announced it will invest up to $2 billion to acquire U.S. renewable energy companies Scout Clean Energy and Standard Solar. Separately, TPG Rise Climate, TPG’s $5.4 billion climate fund, led Form Energy’s $450 million Series E financing.
- Go deeper.
💰 Impact is hot. Impact funds hit $1 trillion, defying anti-ESG fallout. (Bloomberg)
⚡ Returns on renewables. Switching the world to renewable energy will cost $62 trillion, but the payback will take just 6 years. (CleanTechnica)
💨 Cannabis and capital. Three reasons Biden’s marijuana policy is good for the economy. (Morgan Simon)
🚸 Creative impact, part I. “Octonauts: Above and Beyond” is one of the first shows directed at very young children to explicitly address climate change. (New York Times)
🎭 Creative impact, part II. Real-world problems are no match for this new crop of Latina superheroes. (NPR)
🚲 Cleaner and healthier. Several significant health benefits and benefits to our environment can be attained by increasing use of pedal-assist e-bikes, according to a new study. (ScienceDirect)
Get in the Game
💼 Step up
- Farmers Business Network seeks a remote managing director of equity investments.
- Breakthrough Energy is hiring a government relations manager in Washington D.C.
- Google is looking for a director for global decarbonization strategy and program management in Mountain View, Calif., and a racial equity analyst.
🤝 Meet up
There’s still time to register for these upcoming ImpactAlpha partner events:
- The Regenerative Food Systems Investment Forum is set for Oct. 12-13 in Denver with Mark Watson of Potlikker Capital, Esther Park of Cienega Capital, and other guests. Get 15% off with code IMPACT.
- SOCAP22 is back in person, Oct. 17-20 in San Francisco with Alex Flachsbart of Opportunity Alabama and Aria Florant of Liberation Ventures, and other guests. EXCLUSIVE: Save $250 and get three-month ImpactAlpha with code s22_ImpactAlpha.
- Mission Investors Exchange national conference convenes in person Dec. 5-7 in Baltimore featuring Shanaysha Sauls of the Baltimore Community Foundation, Tonya Allen of the McKnight Foundation, and others. MIE members can register here.
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