ImpactAlpha Open | September 19, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: On the ground for Climate Week NYC + charting the sustainability revolution

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Hi there, Agents of Impact! 

Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open. In NYC for Climate Week? Connect with my colleagues Amy CorteseRoodgally Senatus and Andrea Riquier who are muckraking and event-hopping around town.

In this week’s Open:

  • On the ground for Climate Week NYC
  • Charting the sustainability revolution
  • Case for catalytic capital
  • Corporate impact investing strategies

Ok, let’s jump in. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

Climate Week watch. Entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and activists are pushing, and protesting, for progress on climate action at Climate Week NYC, previewed ImpactAlpha’s Amy CorteseWhat to watch.

  • California takes on Big Oil. California Gov. Gavin Newsom put to rest questions about the status of landmark bills passed by the state’s legislature that would require large businesses to disclose their direct and indirect carbon emissions, as well as their climate-related risks and plans to address them. “Of course I’m going to sign those bills,” Newsom told The New York Times’ David Gelles at a kickoff ceremony for Climate Week NYC.
  • Policy catalysts. Climate has moved from the margins to the center of global politics. “This is how I know it’s real: A lot of people are getting mad all of a sudden because this is not just symbolic anymore,” says Justin Gillis of Generation Investment Management, which charts the scale up of clean technologies in its “Sustainability Trends Report.” View our favorite charts.

Case for catalytic capitalStacey Faella of the Woodcock Foundation demonstrates how program-related investments can leverage grant dollars and multiply the availability of impact-first capital, “optimizing the impact of scarce resources.” Go deeper.

Africa infrastructure impact. African pension funds and private investors are stepping up to bridge Africa’s gap in infrastructure financing, report Anne-Marie D’Alton and Ngatia Kirungie, who represent consortia of pension funds in Kenya and South Africa that have collectively mobilized $500 billion in three years. Check it out.

  • Grid upgrade. Investments in power transmission in Africa can generate stable cash flows and attractive risk-adjusted returns, write Alain Eboisse of Africa50 and Shri Sreekant of Power Grid in India, whose firms are supporting high-voltage transmission in western Kenya. Get their take.

Standing with Black-owned businessesImpactAlpha’s Roodgally Senatus dropped into OfColor’s Disruptive Discourse summit, to hear how JaNay Queen Nazaire of Blk Grvty and other leaders are stepping up ecosystem-building efforts to repel attacks on strategies to redress racial disparities and back fund managers and founders of color. Get the scoop.

Agents of Impact

🏃🏾‍♀️ People on the move

  • David LeZaks, ex- of Croatan Institute, joins Food System 6 as managing director. Lauren Manning, also ex- of Croatan, joined as an associate director.
  • Jack Moriarty, ex- of Ownership America, joins Lafayette Square Foundation as executive director.
  • MSCI’s Linda-Eling Lee will helm the ratings firm’s new Sustainability Institute; Hiro Mizuno will advise the institute in his role as special advisor to the CEO.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On the podcast

Host Brian Walsh chats with Amy Cortese to set the stage for the UN General Assembly and Climate Week NYC. Plus, the headlines. 

Six Signals: What We’re Reading

💰Corporate impact investing strategies. Comcast, Google, Microsoft and other corporations are deploying their balance sheets for impact. Patagonia, Salesforce and Schneider Electric are pulling on- and off-balance sheet funding into established impact funds. (Global Impact Investing Network)

🤖🎓 AI + edtech. Reach Capital identified over 280 education tools that incorporate generative AI as a core engine. Tools for personalized learning, along with career and skill development, represent two-thirds of the pipeline. In these two categories, three dozen companies have raised over $350 million. (Reach Capital)

⚠️ Integrating social issues in sustainable finance. Like a changing climate, socio-economic inequality is a systematic risk. The UN Development Programme makes the case that environmental and social impacts are inextricably linked; the financial services sector must better respond to both. (UNDP)

✅ ESG edge in private equity. A Novata survey of 20 European private equity firms found that those with a best-practice approach to ESG reduce operational inefficiencies, generate revenue from ESG-friendly products, enhance customer loyalty, and prepare for regulatory changes. (Novata)

🇨🇳☀️ China’s solar boom. China’s installed solar PV capacity could double over the next three years, from 500 gigawatts in 2023 to a terrawatt by the end of 2026, driven by “significant boost in large-scale projects.” (PV Magazine)

🔋 Benchmarking battery cells. Falling commodity prices caused the price of battery cells to plunge in August, bringing the technology close to the “tipping point” where battery-powered EVs match the cost of internal combustion engine cars. (Renew Economy)

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