ImpactAlpha Open | April 2, 2024

ImpactAlpha Open: US ‘green bank’ takes shape + Brazil’s impact ecosystem

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to the latest ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly newsletter on the news, deals and people powering impact investing and sustainable finance. 

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In this week’s Open:

  • US ‘green bank’ takes shape
  • Wealth building in The Great Deployment
  • Brazil’s impact ecosystem
  • SOCAP’s open-source impact

Ok, let’s get to it. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • The Liist: Impact funds targeting underserved communities. Overhauling systems designed for inequality and exclusion starts a few dollars at a time. On this month’s Liist of actively raising impact funds, fund managers are building on proven strategies that undercut systemic racism and inequality, expose mispriced risk and redirect capital to resources that repeatedly deliver value – for people and the planet. View The Liist.
  • Brazil’s impact ecosystem. Latin America’s largest country is boosting its impact economy as it seeks growth and leadership on the global stage. Check out my video interviews with Pretahub’s Adriana Barbosa, Estímulo’s Lucas Conrado, Potencia’s Itali Collini, and Lucas Ramalho Maciel, a force behind Enimpacto, the country’s new National Impact Economy Strategy. Get the details.
    • Sign up for ImpactAlpha Latin America, our free monthly newsletter covering Latin America and the Caribbean. Opt-in.
  • US ‘green bank’ takes shape. The lineup of nonprofit housing developers, state-level green banks, local community development financial institutions, and other networks that will execute mandates under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is coming into focus. ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and David Bank preview the players and coalitions building the US’s distributed “green bank.” Meet them.
  • Wealth building in The Great Deployment. Ownership models – of homes, businesses and community assets – are central to the rollout of climate-smart infrastructure financing through the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, reports Amy CorteseRead more.
  • Catalytic climate finance. British International Investment partnered two years ago with asset manager Symbiotics on a $75 million “basket bond” to support green lending among small business lenders in Africa and Asia. Symbiotics has deployed the full amount in 11 organizations in eight countries, Jessica Pothering reports. Check it out.
  • Open-source impact. SOCAP organizers have opened voting for the more than 400 SOCAP Open sessions proposed by Agents of Impact for the annual social capital gathering in San Francisco in October. It’s an eye-opening tour of innovation and commitment, and ImpactAlpha is keen to help elevate standout sessions – including our own! Check out Amy’s session on “The Great Deployment,” with Duanne Andrade of Solar and Energy Loan Fund, Beth Bafford of Calvert Impact, and Michael Jeans of Growth Opportunity Partners. I was invited to engage ReFED’s Alexandria Coari on catalyzing capital for solutions to food waste. And David is hoping to bring in, by video, Napoleon Wallace of Southern Reconstruction Fund to premiere the documentary we’ve been working on together, “Equity: Napoleon Wallace and the Reconstruction of Black Wealth.” Voting closes Sunday, April 14send us your favorites with a line or two about why they stand out.

Agents of Impact

🏃🏾‍♀️ People on the move

  • Bala Nagarajan, formerly of NextEra Energy, joined S2G Ventures as managing director of its energy team.
  • Cliff Prior will step down from the helm of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment by the end of September.
  • Tariye Gbadegesin, a former investment committee member of Climate Policy Initiative’s Catalytic Climate Finance Facility, became CEO of Climate Investment Funds.

The Week’s Podcasts

🎧 On the podcasts

Host Brian Walsh dives into ImpactAlpha’s top stories, with commentary from editor David BankUp this week: Tracking the players building the US’s “green bank”; catalyzing climate lending to small businesses in emerging markets; and why Brazil is doubling down on the impact economy.

  • ImpactAlpha Podcast Network. On Agents of ImpactSherrell Dorsey chats with Lenore Champagne Beirne of Bright Ventures. On Impact(ed),hosts Lucas Turner-Owens and Eric Horvath explore equitable community lending with Jocelyn Velazquez of IFF, and Ana Ramos of Common Future.
  • Listen to the new episode of This Week in Impact. You’ll get the podcast in your feed if you’re subscribed on Apple or Spotify. What are you waiting for? Search for “ImpactAlpha” wherever you listen and hit “subscribe.” While you’re at it, leave us a review. 

Short Signals: What We’re Reading

🤐 Larry Fink changes the subject. The BlackRock chief has ditched ESG themes in his annual letter for “rethinking retirement.” There are no mentions of diversity. When climate is cited, it is in the context of “energy pragmatism.” There’s even a shout-out to Texas, which has blacklisted the asset manager for allegedly boycotting oil and gas companies. (BlackRock)

💲 Private market ‘impact alpha.’ Fundraising was down in 2023 but emerging managers had a higher success rate than managers as a whole. Impact funds targeting climate solutions are taking a larger share of commitments. And top impact funds are outperforming non-impact peers. (Pitchbook)

🌿 Nature tech VC funding bounce. Food and ag. Land and forestry. Oceans and water. Biodiversity and green supply chains. VC funding in nature-based tech startups around the world increased by 18% to $1.9 billion in 2023. The number of deals jumped 27% to 205. (Serena Capital)

🌏 50+ Asia–Pacific climate investors to knowAmong them: Toby Chan Li Tan (Audacy Ventures) and Nicole Lee (The Mills Fabrica) in Hong Kong. Shravan Shankar (Climake) and Shantanu Chaturvedi (Transition VC) in India. Anuj Maheswari (Temasek) and Veronica Yow (The Meloy Fund). (ClimateHack Weekly)

⚠️ Mitigating inequality risk. Widening inequality in the US impacts workplace productivity, customer satisfaction and employee turnover. Investors can urge portfolio companies to share wealth and influence with workers through grievance mechanisms, shared ownership models and other strategies. (The Predistribution Initiative)

Get in the Game

💼 Step up

  • Decolonizing Wealth Project is recruiting a finance and operations director in New York.
  • Global Innovation Fund is on the hunt for an impact senior managing director in London.
  • Black Farmer Fund is looking for a development and investor relations director and a business support director.

Visit ImpactAlpha’s Career Hub for more impact investing jobs. Contact us for job posting rates.

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