The Brief | September 12, 2018

Tribal forest carbon, filling news deserts, attracting opportunity fund capital, opportunity zone FAQ

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Happy Wednesday, ImpactAlpha readers!

Featured: ImpactAlpha Original

Native American tribes conserve forests to cut carbon and capitalize on California’s market. California’s cap-and-trade carbon market has become one of the largest revenue streams for financing U.S. forest conservation and climate action. The majority of forest conservation offsets to date have come from tribal lands. New Forests’ Forest Carbon Partners has financed forest-carbon offset projects for seven tribes, including the Chugach in Alaska, the Mescalero Apache in New Mexico and the Yurok in California. Encourage Capital’s EKO Green Carbon Fund has developed one of the largest forest-conservation projects with the White Mountain Apache tribe in Arizona.

In advance of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, a consortium of foundations has pledged $459 million through through 2022 to put forest and lands conservation atop the global climate agenda. The foundations will fund projects to halt and reverse forest loss, advance sustainable land use and and secure the rights and livelihoods of indigenous and forest communities. The climate reality: Reducing emissions is not enough. We also have to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Globally, indigenous and local communities hold about one-quarter of all above-ground forest carbon. “If our rights as indigenous peoples are recognized, we can continue to protect these lands for generations to come,” says Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Read “Native American tribes conserve forests to cut carbon and capitalize on California’s market,” by Carol Clouse on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Hoodline raises $10 million to fill local “news deserts.” Another deal from Innovation Endeavors, ex-Google boss Eric Schmidt’s venture fund: news service Hoodline’s $10 million Series A round. Hoodline is seeking to fill “news deserts” by amassing large volumes of local data that can be used to write news stories. The financing was led by Neoteny, a Boston-based early-stage venture fund. Read on.

Solena raises capital to support Mexico’s small farmers. Grupo Solena, based in Guanajuato, Mexico, raised the undisclosed amount of capital from the Kirchner Impact Foundation’s Food Fellowship program to help small farmers improve soil health. The fellowship, which has backed Kuli Kuli Foods and other agricultural ventures, supports university-initiated responsible-agriculture projects. Dig in.

CoPower retail bondholders invest in Canadian geothermal projects. The Toronto-based company made a C$6.4 million ($4.9 million) investment in residential geothermal projects in British Columbia. The investment, made through CoPower’s retail green bond initiative, affects 417 residential customers served by company GeoTility, which helps households affordably connect to renewable geothermal power. Here’s more.

Impact Voices: Pass the Mic

Six ways to attract capital and shape the future of opportunity zones. Investors and local leaders are still waiting for the U.S. Treasury Department to clarify rules for investments in opportunity zones, the low-income census tracts that qualify for capital-gains tax breaks under last year’s tax bill. But that uncertainty presents, yes, opportunities as well. “The clarity gap opens a door for first movers to model best practices around state and local leadership, fund structures, investment activity and transparency for others to follow,” says Enterprise Community Partners’ Rachel Reilly.

The takeaways from a gathering last week of more than 200 investors and local leaders from more than 40 states at Georgetown University: Act now. Be transparent. Follow the talent. Commit for the long term. Reilly and the Bay Area Council’s Stephen Malta reported on the pow-wow, which was hosted by the Beeck Center and the Council of Development Finance Agencies. On the agenda: Building local opportunity zone strategies, structuring funds for impact, finding investors and investing with equity. Read, “Six ways to attract capital and shape the future of opportunity zone investing,” on ImpactAlpha.

  • You have opportunity-zone questions? We have (some) answers. ImpactAlpha received dozens of questions about opportunity zones after last month’s Agents of Impact conference call. We enlisted law firm Womble Bond Dickinson to find some answers. The FAQ.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Yasemin Saltuk Lamy, ex- of Omidyar Network and JPMorgan Chase, has joined CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, as a deputy chief investment officer. The CDC “is pioneering a new, higher-risk investment approach designed to unlock markets that can bring significant development impact.” … Ed-tech investor Owl Ventures is looking for investment team professional… Nestlé, Ashoka and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation launched an accelerator for young social entrepreneurs in Africa.

Steptember 12, 2018.