Packard Foundation: $15M in Debt Capital to Scale Solar ‘Beyond the Grid’

Equity gets the glory, but sometimes it’s debt that gets the job done. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation this week committed $15 million to Simpa Networks, SunFunder, and Off-Grid Electric, which each finance access to clean energy “beyond the grid” in east Africa, India and other emerging markets. The so-called program-related investments will be

Tech Veterans Invest $3.5M in iMerit to Boost Digital Job Skills

Michael Dell, Pierre Omidyar and Vinod Khosla are betting on the opportunity to “upskill” workers rather than replace them. The three technology veterans – through their impact and philanthropic organizations – have invested $3.5 million in iMerit, a digital services company that recruits from disadvantaged communities around the world. iMerit was founded in 2012 with a

U.S. Department of Labor: Green Light for ‘Economically Targeted’ Impact Investments

The signal may be as important as the substance. New guidance from the Department of Labor gives a green light to pension fund managers to consider environmental and social benefits in their investment decisions. Proponents of the change have been looking for that signal to unlock billions, or even trillions, of dollars for investment in

Pelagic Data Systems: Filling a Data Gap in the Seafood Supply Chain

Where was the fish fillet on my dinner plate caught? Was it mishandled? Is this species endangered? Consumers increasingly want to know the story of their seafood. That has been a market barrier for small-scale fishermen and women, who make up 90 percent of the world’s fishing workforce. The data gaps begin as soon as a

What to Feed the Fish? Demand for Feed Attracts Innovators and Investors

What to feed the fish? Rising demand from the fast-growing aquaculture industry has put pressure on traditional sources of fish meal and driven prices to record highs. That has led to the development of a raft of alternative feed ingredients and sustainable solutions to support the projected growth of the global fish feed market to

Wharton: Great Expectations for Financial Returns, but Questions About Mission Preservation

Impact is in the eye of the beholder, or at least in the eye of the fund manager. A new study on the financial performance of private equity impact investments provides fresh data that suggests at least some segments are indeed delivering “market-rate” returns. Moreover, the report, “Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments,” from the

Where’s the Beef? In Brazil, An Investment in Sustainable Cattle

Brazil’s cattle industry has been targeted as a major contributor to deforestation and climate change. A project to restore the Amazon rainforest through new cattle ranching techniques aims to provide a counter-example. The Althelia Climate Fund, based in Luxembourg, has committed €11.5 million to Novo Campo, a pilot cattle ranching project in the Brazilian state of Mato