ImpactAlpha Open | January 31, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: Quality carbon credits + Black-worker ownership

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to ImpactAlpha Open. Two quick action items:

👋 Join Agents of Impact Call No. 48Ryan Bowers of Activest, Diane Manuel of Adasina Social Capital, Eric Glass of Justice Capital and other Agents of Impact will explore “Investable opportunities in high-impact municipal finance” on ImpactAlpha’s call tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 10am PT, 1pm ET / 6pm London. Special guest: Greater Share’s Dana BezerraFinal call to RSVP.

🚨 Ending Today: 75% off. Go deeper, and daily, with an all-access ImpactAlpha subscription. Subscribe today to get 12 months for just $99. Grab the deal.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • Transparency in development finance;
  • Quality carbon credits;
  • Black-worker ownership; and
  • Where the green jobs are.

Ok, let’s jump in. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Catalyzing climate capital. The nonprofit Publish What You Fund launched a DFI Transparency Index to press development finance institutions to disclose their investments and their impact, Jessica Pothering reports.

    • Ideas for getting more international money flowing in local currency from Osaruyi Orobosa-Ogbeide of Africa Finance Corp.
    • Milken Institute’s Alison Harwood with IFC-Milken Institute scholars Rizwan Haroon and Mohammad Rakibur Rahman on securitizing taxes and fees to finance climate adaptation.
  • Quality carbon creditsImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese wrote about efforts to raise the quality of credits in the voluntary carbon markets to make them more effective tools for decarbonization and conservation.
  • Muni impact. In a Q&A with Andrea Riquier, Justice Capital’s Eric Glass called out the disparities and disinvestment that pervade the municipal bond market.
  • Policy corner. To counter the ESG critics, double down on impact. “Where do we go from here?” Fran Seegull of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance asks in her preview of the coming year’s policy battles. “The answer, I believe, is to drive toward more and deeper impact, taking care that the field scales with impact integrity.

    • Manifest Social’s Ryon Harms on the tack to the center on ESG by some Republican governors.

Sponsored by J&J Impact Ventures

Trust, not technology, bonds patients and providers

Trust is based on a set of expectations that healthcare providers will do the best for the patient. It is central to well-functioning, equitable health systems, “but it is not guaranteed,” writes Johnson & Johnson’s Sarah MullaneJ&J Impact Ventures, a fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, invests in people building trust into their market-driven technologies, services and delivery mechanisms. “By investing in trust as a core priority and criteria for investment,” Mullane says, “we can help ensure we are not led astray by the benefits of technology, but effectively enhance them.”

Agents of Impact

🔍 Gary Forster, Publish What You Fund: Holding development finance institutions accountable for impact

Gary Forster left his job in logistics at Procter & Gamble to volunteer in Zambia, inspired by the 2005 Make Poverty History campaign to pressure the U.K. government to prioritize global poverty alleviation. Over the next decade, he took on humanitarian assignments in more than 25 countries. Forster is now CEO of Publish What You Fund, which last week launched the first-ever DFI Transparency Index, a ranking of 27 development finance institutions and multilateral development banks on their disclosure of data on capital mobilization and impact.

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

  • Christine Chow, ex- of HSBC Asset Management, joined Credit Suisse Asset Management as managing director and head of active ownership.
  • Sarah Gordon, founding CEO of the U.K.’s Impact Investing Institute, will step down to join the London School of Economics as a visiting professor.
  • Eliane Ubalijoro, ex- of Sustainability in the Digital Age, will become the first African female CEO of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On this week’s podcast

Development finance institutions are essential to the mobilization of capital to slow climate change and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. So why do these quasi-public institutions share so little data about their activities? ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering breaks it down for host Brian WalshPlus, the headlines.

Deal Spotlight

💸 Black-worker ownership

With more than half of business owners in the U.S. over 55 years old, there’s a “silver tsunami” of businesses for sale. An increasingly viable option: Transfer ownership to employees. Bethesda, Md.-based Apis & Heritage Capital Partners last week closed a $58.1 million fund to help small and mid-sized businesses with large workforces of color transition to employee ownership (see, “Black and brown employee ownership for the post-COVID economy“). 

Six Signals

🧐 What to watch in impact investing in 2023. ESG soul searching. Regulation provides clarity. Stakeholders demand accountability. Decarbonization to climate solutions. Nature gains ground. Amid disruptions, “there will be outsized opportunities for progress,” writes the GIIN’s Amit Bouri. (Global Impact Investing Network)

📈 Surge in new businesses. Entrepreneurs in 2022 filed applications for nearly 1.7 million new businesses likely to hire employees – a 28% increase over the pre-pandemic baseline and the second-largest total on record. Gains extend across every state, led by Southern states with large Black populations. (Economic Innovation Group)

👩🏽‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱👨🏾‍🦲👩🏻‍🦰 Inclusion in asset management. Asset owners can help build a more inclusive capitalism by incorporating diversity and inclusion into portfolio governance, building diverse investment teams, underwriting equitably and pushing for diversity within existing managers. (Milken Institute)

💰⚡ Energy transition investment tops $1 trillion. Global investment in clean energy tech in 2022 grew 31% year-over-year, putting energy-transition financing on par with fossil fuel supply investments for the first time. (Bloomberg)

🌱👷🏾‍♀️ Where the green jobs are. The U.S. added more than 120,000 new clean energy jobs in 2021. Almost half the growth came in energy efficiency and 31% in electric vehicles. Nearly 50% of new clean energy jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree – and most pay more than the national median salary. (Canary Media)

🚲 More mobility, less mining. The U.S. can achieve zero emissions transportation while ensuring transit equity, protecting ecosystems and respecting Indigenous rights. How? Prioritizing public and active transit, decreasing the size of electric vehicle batteries and maximizing lithium recycling. (Climate and Community)

Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

  • Galvanize Climate Solutions seeks a vice president of impact measurement in San Francisco or New York.
  • Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth North America is looking for a remote managing director.
  • Social Finance has an opening for a director of healthcare impact investments in Boston.

🎬 Take action

  • Echoing Green is accepting applications for its 2023 fellowships.
  • Venture For ClimateTech’s venture studio and accelerator program is accepting applications until March 10 for its third cohort. With support from ClimateWorks Foundation, Venture For ClimateTech will offer $10,000 fellowships to two Black and/or Latinx founders.
  • Discovered Markets’ “Creating change through communications” course begins Monday, Feb. 13.

🤝 Meet up

  • Decolonizing Wealth Project is hosting a one-day virtual summit for donor advisors focused on communities of color, Thursday, Feb. 23.
  • Africa Rise is hosting “Bridging the Gender Gap in Investment and Financial Services Sector in Mauritius,” Thursday, Feb. 2.
  • New Ventures is hosting the Latin America Impact Investing Forum, or “FLII”, February 28 to March 2 in Mérida, Mexico. Get 35% off with code IMPACTALPHA35.

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‘Til next Tuesday!