ImpactAlpha Open | June 18, 2024

ImpactAlpha Open: Making sense of Elon Musk + Ava DuVernay’s impact

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to the latest ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly newsletter that brings you the top news and opportunities in impact investing and sustainable finance. 

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In this week’s Open:

  • Making sense of Elon Musk
  • Ava DuVernay’s impact on filmmaking
  • Rising political risks from attacks on climate action and diversity
  • Gender lens investors gather in Buenos Aires

Ok, let’s jump in. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Making sense of Musk. The vote on Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay package was an example of “the billionaire class flexing its muscles to protect the ability to continue to amass such fantastic wealth,” writes ImpactAlpha’s Amy CorteseRead more.
  • Ava DuVernay’s impact on filmmaking. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay put together a blended structure of philanthropic financing that let her move quickly to make Origin, her movie based on journalist Isabel Wilkerson’s 2020 book, Caste. DuVernay joined Ford Foundation’s Roy Swan to discuss the deal with David Bank(Disclosure: Ford Foundation is an investor in ImpactAlpha.) Watch the video interview.
  • Political risk rising. At a public hearing, congressional Republicans escalated attacks on ESG, alleging the existence of evidence of what they call a “climate cartel” of more than a dozen major financial institutions, along with their advisors and nonprofit allies, report Amy and David. Catch up.
  • Gender lens investing in Latin America. From Buenos Aires, I report on the action agenda at the recent Gender Lens Investing Forum LatAm:More women in leadership roles, more gender-smart fund strategies and more financial innovation to bring more women into the formal economy. Lee más.
  • Sorting climate solutions. Software from Prime Coalition, a nonprofit in Cambridge, Mass., that invests in early-stage climate companies and startups, aims to make it easier to find climate tech solutions, reports Lynnley BrowningCheck it out.

Agents of Impact

🏃 On the move

  • Jennifer Houle, previously with Coeuraj, joined Raven Indigenous Capital Partners as director of people and culture. 
  • UBS named Jiayun Fang, formerly of United Overseas Bank, Southeast Asia social impact lead.
  • Lissy Smit stepped down as CEO of Aqua-Spark. She will be succeeded by Mike Velings, who co-founded the fund with Amy Novogratz.

The Week’s Podcast

🎧 This Week in Impact

Host Brian Walsh takes up ImpactAlpha’s top stories with editor David BankUp this week: the backlash to climate action, diversity and ESG continues at congressional antitrust hearings; legal challenges to race-based business grants; shareholder votes at Tesla; and women’s growing economic power in Latin America. Plus, how Ava DuVernay flipped Hollywood’s script on financing for social impact filmmaking.

Short Signals: What We’re Reading

🧑‍🌾 (Re)generating trillions. Closing the gap in funding to shift from conventional global food systems to regenerative practices could generate $4.5 trillion in new investment opportunities. Needed: Commercial models, supportive markets and large institutional investors. (Rockefeller Foundation)

🤖 + 🌱 AI assessment of corporate disclosures. Roughly 40% of companies disclose their decarbonization measures and quantify their contribution to achieving emission targets, according to Clarity AI’s artificial intelligence-based examination of climate transition plans at 319 large-cap companies. Companies in Europe and Japan, and in the defense and construction industries, are leading the way. (Clarity AI)

⚡ Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions. Gates-backed TerraPower is developing a Wyoming nuclear project that could generate up to 500 megawatts, enough for up to 400,000 homes. The project is expected to cost up to $4 billion, half of it from the U.S. Department of Energy. (Associated Press)

📈 Corporate strategies for inclusive growth. Diverse supply chains. Access to capital. Mentorship for Black entrepreneurs. Google, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are finding growth, building their brands and generating impact with support for Black-owned businesses. (Forbes)

🔋 China’s hydrogen lead. Electrolyzers are to hydrogen what photovoltaic cells are to solar. By year’s end, China will have installed 2.5 gigawatts of electrolyzer capacity, and be producing more hydrogen energy annually than the rest of the world combined. Much of it, however, is derived from gray hydrogen, which is fossil-fuel intensive to produce. (Energy Institute)

Get in the Game

💼 Step up

  • UCLA Anderson Center for Impact is looking for an adjunct lecturer to teach MBA classes in social impact and sustainability in Los Angeles.
  • Citi is seeking a sustainability and ESG analyst in New York.
  • Reverb is hiring a director of impact to lead the Music Decarbonization Project and manage and develop their Climate Project Portfolio. This is a remote role.

Visit ImpactAlpha’s Career Hub for more hundreds of more impact investing jobs.

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