The Brief’s Big 10: Local economy, conservation finance, the regenerative economy



Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers!

Featured: The Brief’s Big Ten

Inclusion generates opportunities. Impact investors are letting President Trump know. Building homes in Haiti. Leapfrogging energy grids in El Salvador and across Central America. Creating models on the African continent for 21st century skills and education, food and agriculture and financial inclusion. Countries overcoming poverty are becoming innovation hubs, talent centers and the world’s next growth markets.

People from those countries are assets, not liabilities. “I’ve worked with team members and entrepreneurs from Africa, Haiti, and all over the world who face incredible obstacles, do amazing work, and work far harder than the occupant of the Oval Office,” tweeted Village Capital’s Ross Baird. “To all of our friends and colleagues from Haiti and from Africa, we at the Case Foundation are honored to know you, to work with you & to count you as friends,” added Jean Case. ImpactAlpha, too, is all about the shift toward inclusive, sustainable prosperity. Everyone is welcome here.

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  1. ImpactAlpha hits the street, in Philadelphia… ImpactAlpha this week kicked off a 2018 series of stories and insights from communities where innovators, entrepreneurs and investors are building local impact ecosystems. The agents of impact are “The New Revivalists.” First stop: Philadelphia. “With small wins and intentional progress, there’s a new tone in Philadelphia,” writes Megan McFadden on ImpactAlpha. Read on.

Philadelphia rings the bell on a 21st-century revival

2. … and in Uganda, to highlight a growing market opportunity for women. Ugandan social enterprise Bana is tackling a long-standing taboo in Africa: menstruation. Bana works with a women’s cooperative to manufacture sanitary pads from banana tree fibers, and distributes them via a network of female micro-entrepreneurs. ImpactAlpha contributor Devin Thorpe reports from Uganda on how the market for feminine hygiene products is changing everyday life. Read the full story.

New economics of menstrual pads, let the #dealflow roll, flood-risk indicators, people-centered…

3. Impact investing the local, democratic way. Invest in what you know, as Warren Buffet says. New approaches and products are making local community investing possible. Take the JOBS Act, the Obama-era legislation that allows citizens to invest in small and local businesses. Women and minority-led ventures raised more such small-dollar, crowdfunded investments than their white male peers. Read Amy Cortese’s ‘locavesting’ roundup.

Democratizing — and localizing — impact investing in 2018

4. Tokyo Olympics bridges global and local sustainability. The Japanese city, host to the 2020 Olympics, wants to be a model for making the Games serve the 2030 Global Goals. Plans include the use of fuel-cell vehicles and environmental standards for sourcing building materials and food. “We want to leave behind at least one good single measure that would serve as a catalyst to change society beyond 2020,” one Olympic committee official said. This could be a model.

Tokyo looks for long-term impact…through the Olympics

5. Making conservation pay. “Rehabilitating degraded land, protecting vital ecosystems and empowering sustainable business around the world can be achieved along with competitive market-level returns,” says Mirova CEO Philippe Zaouati. Corporate managers, conservation practitioners, bankers and investors gathered at Credit Suisse in New York to stock the deal pipeline. Take a look.

Assembling the pieces for ‘landscape-scale’ conservation investments

6. Aligned Intermediary pulls institutional capital toward climate change.Climate deals are often too risky, too small, or too opaque for institutional investors. Aligned Intermediary has secured $1.4 billion in commitments from nine clients to fight climate change, and it’s putting that money to work in clean-energy developments and water infrastructure in the U.S. The advisory firm wants to serve as a model for financing other system-wide challenges. Here’s more.

How Aligned Intermediary makes climate deals work for institutional investors

7. Fresh Coast pilots rain gardens and bioswales. The Kresge Foundation provided $1.25 million to Chicago-based Fresh Coast Capital for green water-management projects. There is an estimated $105 billion funding gap that needs to be filled by 2025 to improve the condition and climate resilience of America’s piped water and water treatment facilities. Fresh Coast, which launched in 2014 with the mission of revitalizing brownfields, has expanded its environmental and conservation offerings. Find out more.

Fresh Coast Capital raises $1.25 million for green municipal water management

8. Bond investors get smart on floods. Credit-rating agency Moody’s warned cities and states in November that failing to address climate risks could hurt their bond ratings, potentially affecting the flow of trillions of dollars to coastal municipalities. Bond investors, such as Boston-based Breckinridge Capital Advisors, are digging into the climate risks to assets in flood-prone areas. Learn about Breckinridge’s new flood risk indicator.

Bond investors are getting smarter about flood risks

9. Regeneration goes beyond sustainability. Sustainable practices aim to prevent the destruction of ecosystems. Regenerative approaches aim to restore lands — and communities — that are already degraded. SVX Mexico, an impact-investing consulting firm, and UNDP’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative, have identified 30 ventures in agriculture, forestry, fishing, cattle ranching, tourism and cities focused on restoration in Mexico. “For the regenerative economy, we need to learn about the paradigm of unity, where the economic system is based on abundance,” SVX Mexico’s Laura Ortiz told ImpactAlpha. Get with it.

Talkin’ about regeneration

10. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh also wants to go beyond sustainability. The Jordanian business executive and U.N. Social Impact finance advisor thinks the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals set too low a bar. His idea: “progress goals,” with social-impact indicators that are reported, watched and announced daily, like stock prices. Read all about it.

Straight talk on global development

That’s a wrap. Have a great weekend! Please send news and comments to TheBrief@impactalpha.com.

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