Good Friday evening, ImpactAlpha readers, and welcome to ImpactAlpha’s 200th daily Brief. If you love what you read here, share the Brief with a friend.
This week, the world gathered in Bonn to push climate action forward, while across the U.S., impact events highlighted a growing local and inclusive economic movement. AfroTech held the largest Black tech conference ever in Silicon Valley. Dazzlecon in Portland gathered the zebra (as opposed to unicorn) movement. Localists were in Monterey for the BALLE Leadership Summit. Coloradans convened for Colorado Impact Days. Culture and community converged at Forbes Impact in New York. Read ImpactAlpha’s report from the floor of Forbes Impact.
#Featured: The Brief’s Big Ten
1. America pledges itself (almost) all-in on climate action. President Trump and his advisors were almost an afterthought at the global climate conference in Bonn, as a cadre of U.S. state, city and business leaders sent a message to the world: #WeAreStillIn. Read why this could actually work.
2. While Trump’s man in Bonn threw in the towel on the 2° C target. It’s going to be tough to stay within the agreed-upon limit for global warming in the Paris climate accord even with a massive effort, but White House advisor George David Banks told reporters in an impromptu interview that the administration is not inclined to even try. Regarding the emission cuts required, he said “We don’t see a politically viable pathways to achieve those without a major technological breakthrough. It is just not going to happen.” Read the interview in full.
3. And the U.N. Secretary-General picked the towel up. “Climate change is the defining threat of our time,” said the straight-talking António Guterres. His call to action: end $825 billion per year in fossil fuel investment, put a price on carbon, deliver on the $100 billion commitment to finance the low-carbon transition in developing countries, and build only green infrastructure. What to watch for next.
- Dig deeper: This week we profiled four growing markets for climate business: 1) Falling storage costs drive growth of off-grid solar. 2) Securing the 2050 food supply without cooking the planet. 3) Avoid, shift and improve to sidestep the great traffic pileup of 2050. 4) Green buildings will be lit by LEDs well before 2030.
4. Blending finance can mobilize private capital for climate action and the global agenda. Investing public and philanthropic funding to reduce risks and boost returns can pull private investment into geographies and markets deemed too risky or costly. Read how it’s working in Latin America.
5. Pro-poor climate insurance can backstop vulnerable communities. The year 2017 looks set to break the record for losses from natural disasters, many of them climate-related. Much of that damage is not insured, creating a “global protection gap” that particularly disadvantages low-income countries and communities. Meet the climate-finance engineers bridging the gap.
6. But we need something more like a makeover of the global financial system. A “Roadmap for a Sustainable Financial System” from the World Bank and UN Environment may seem like a reach, but the global rotation of capital toward social and environmental value-creation and risk-reduction is already well underway. Don’t miss this.
7. Women in Fiji are on the front lines of climate change…and climate solutions. Women in the Pacific islands are testing adaptations for communities worldwide that face the dislocations and disruptions of rising water, warming oceans, fragile food supplies and epic natural disasters. A year-and-a-half after Cyclone Winston, a women-led ecosystem of climate-resilience experiments around Fiji is showing promise. Dive in.
8. This accelerator is building a gateway to financial services for the world’s next billions. Whether Catalyst Fund’s fintech startups can serve customers at the base of the global economic pyramid — and turn a profit — remains to be seen. But with backing from global banks and data-driven philanthropists, “inclusive fintech” has arrived as a disruptive innovation. Read all about it.
9. And researchers have tallied $2.2 billion in public- and private-equity assets invested in women. Nearly two-dozen public gender-lens investment vehicles now hold more than $910 million. Together with 58 women-focused venture capital funds with $1.3 billion in assets, asset allocations targeting women are rising. Take a look at the asset managers on the list.
10. Impact investments are performing financially, according to a new pocket guide. The GIIN’s guide rounds up the growing body of evidence that equity, debt and real assets investments are showing risk-adjusted market-rate returns. Small funds do not necessarily underperform larger ones, and opportunities span risk appetites. Why we need investors to share more data.
That’s a wrap. Have a great weekend! Please send news and comments to TheBrief@impactalpha.com.