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Impact Investing

This category includes articles about people, firms and foundations that invest in social good by investing in social entrepreneurs, social impact or pay-for-success bonds, etc.

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Global Sustainable Investment Alliance To Release Biennial 2016 Global Sustainable Investment Review On March 27

Media Web Conference Scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2017 – The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) will release its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016 on Monday, March 27 at 8:00 a.m. ET. GSIA leaders will host a media web conference at 11:00 a.m. ET the same day, featuring:

  • Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director of Eurosif: The European Sustainable Investment Forum
  • Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
  • Meg Voorhes, Research Director at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
  • Simon O’Connor, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia

Now in its third edition, the biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review collates results from Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. The report draws on in-depth regional and national reports from GSIA members—Eurosif, Responsible Investment Association Australasia, RIA Canada and US SIF—as well as reports and insights from the Principles for Responsible Investment, Japan SIF, Latin SIF and the African Investing for Impact Barometer. Together, these resources provide data points, insights, analysis and examples of the shape of sustainable investing worldwide.

To register for the media web conference or to be added to the GSIA news release distribution list, please email ussif@lowecom.com.

About The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) is a collaboration of membership-based sustainable investment organizations around the world. It includes US SIF, UK SIF, Eurosif, RIA Canada, VBDO (Netherlands) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). The GSIA’s mission is to deepen the impact and visibility of sustainable investment organizations at the global level. Our vision is a world where sustainable investment is integrated into financial systems and the investment chain and where all regions of the world have coverage by vigorous membership based institutions that represent and advance the sustainable investment community. www.gsi-alliance.org

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Our mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations, nonprofit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. US SIF produces a highly regarded conference each year. A New Climate for Investing in Impact will be held in Chicago from May 11-12. Learn more at www.ussif.org.

This Capital-Raising Strategy Beats the VC/Angel Model

Press Release – Oakland, CA – “Angel/VC investors will pressure you to grow as fast as possible at any cost so they can make a fast killing,” says attorney and mission-driven business expert Jenny Kassan. “That model cripples your ability to maintain your business mission and run your business your way. Plus, the evidence is clear that the average VC and Angel strongly prefers pitches from men.”

Here’s a better idea, Kassan advises: “Find and attract investors who will love who you are, what you do, and how you impact the community. Let them support your company long-term.” How can you find such investors? Kassan suggests tapping the growing army of investors who love having a stake in businesses that matter to them.

On March 31 through April 1 in downtown Oakland, CA, Kassan will lead a training event called “Fund and Fuel Your Dreams” to help women entrepreneurs design a capital raising strategy customized to their unique situation, values, structure, and goals. The program features hands-on, expert training about funding options that allow you to tap the most abundant, yet most overlooked, source of investment capital: values-aligned investors that are happy to let you keep control. Fill-in-the-blank templates and hands-on coaching help participants choose their best option.

On the evening of March 31, participants in “Fund and Fuel Your Dreams” will meet socially conscious investors who are especially interested in women-led businesses. As a past participant said, it’s “knowledge, support and community all at once.”

New Resource Bank, the transformative bank for businesses and organizations building a better world, is sponsoring the investor reception. RSF Social Finance is sponsoring a special breakfast to talk about their most recent initiative to provide values-aligned funding for women entrepreneurs.

The admission fee for “Fund and Fuel Your Dreams” is $997, but the discount code FRIEND2017 brings the price down to $297.

To sign up go to www.fundandfuelyourdreams.com.

Event leader Jenny Kassan is a nationally-know expert and innovator in funding mission-driven businesses. During her over two decades of experience as an attorney and advisor for mission-driven enterprises, she has helped her clients raise millions of dollars and she has raised funding for her own businesses as well. She serves on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies. Her book Raise Capital On Your Own Terms will be published in the fall. She also manages an impact investment fund called the Force for Good Fund.

Jenny earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.

Journalist Amy Cortese says, “Jenny is, hands down, one of the most knowledgeable sources in the field of creative capital raising for social enterprises and small businesses. She is a pivotal player in the budding local and social investing movement.”

For further information, see www.fundandfuelyourdreams.com.

US SIF: The Forum For Sustainable And Repsonsible Investment Affirms Support For The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act

Opposes Changes to Sections 1502 on the Conflict Minerals Rule and Section 953(B) on the Pay Ratio Rule

Press Release – Washington, D.C., March 7, 2017 – US SIF released the following statement from Lisa Woll, CEO:

“Today US SIF sent letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission re-stating our long held support for sections 1502 (concerning conflict minerals) and 953b (concerning pay ratios) of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Passage of Dodd Frank was a critical priority for sustainable and responsible investors. US SIF championed Dodd-Frank’s efforts to combat the loopholes and weaknesses in regulation of US financial markets that led to the financial crisis of 2008 and which wiped out equity for individual and institutional investors.

“We are deeply disappointed that Congress has already voted to ‘disapprove’ the SEC’s rule on resource extraction payments which requires oil and gas companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments. Investors strongly supported this as it was a critical tool for deterring corruption.

“Investments incorporating environmental, social and governance criteria now account for $8.72 trillion of professionally managed assets in the United States. As a result, investors are demanding more disclosure on critical environmental, social and governance issues; Congress’s action on resource extraction payment disclosure is a step in the wrong direction. We are equally concerned that SEC Acting Director Piwowar has reopened comments on already implemented rules on Section 1502 and Section 953b.

“Thus, US SIF has sent letters re-stating to the SEC our long held support for sections 1502 and 953b.

“Section 1502, the Conflict Minerals Rule,is intended to cease the exploitation and trade of conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by requiring certain companies totrace and disclose the origin and supply chain of certain commodities mined in that country. While no single law can solve all the underlying problems causing conflict in the DRC, Section 1502 has diminished revenue flows to militia groups since 2010 and contributed to responsible economic development in the DRC. US SIF recently joined with more than 100 colleagues representing more than $3.75 trillion in assets under management, in opposing any changes to the conflict mineral rule.

“Section 953b, which came into force only on January 1 of this year, requires public companies to disclose the ratio of the median of the annual total compensation of all employees to the annual total compensation of the chief executive officer. The CEO-to-worker pay ratio can help investors better understand a company’s overall compensation approach and provide a valuable additional metric for evaluating and voting on executive compensation practices. Issuers that provide excessive compensation to executives at the expense of other employees are creating risks that may be expressed in employee morale, productivity and turnover. The SEC should support this rule and allow it to yield results before it makes efforts to ‘re-open’ it.

“It is no secret that President Trump has made the weakening or eradication of Dodd Frank a priority of his Administration. Such steps will harm the economy, investors and consumers. The attempts to eliminate and re-open disclosure rules at the SEC are first steps on the road to weakening Dodd Frank. We call on the SEC to maintain remaining rules on disclosure and urge Congress to oppose attempts to diminish or eliminate the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.”

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Our mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations, nonprofit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. US SIF produces a highly regarded conference each year. A New Climate for Investing in Impact will be held in Chicago from May 11-12. Learn more at www.ussif.org.

Home Depot Agrees To Investor Demands For Widespread Lead-Safety Action In Wake of EPA Fine

Shareholders of Largest US Home Improvement Retailer Take Action to Protect Children from Leading Cause of Lead Poisoning; Will Lowe’s Follow Suit?

Press Release – BOSTON (March 1, 2017) – The Home Depot, Inc., (NYSE: HD) has responded to shareholder pressure from Arjuna Capital by agreeing to undertake a wide range of steps to improve consumer awareness about the danger posed to children and others by lead paint. In exchange, Arjuna Capital has agreed to withdraw a shareholder resolution that called on The Home Depot to respond in the wake of a recent penalty imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Arjuna Capital withdrawal letter and proposal is available online at http://arjuna-capital.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Home-Depot-Withdrawal-Letter_3.1.17_proposal.pdf

While public awareness of lead poisoning has been heightened in the wake of the Flint water crisis, the reality is that lead paint in buildings (often disturbed as a result of renovation and repairs) remains the leading cause of poisoning. A 2016 investigation identified over 3000 communities with poisoning rates in children higher than those in Flint at the height of the crisis.

In a letter to Arjuna Capital, The Home Depot committed to a national lead-safety campaign, including in-store awareness events, online messages, digital and social media, and enhanced lead-safety training for new employees. After receiving official confirmation that steps would be taken to address shareholder concerns on Tuesday, February 28, Arjuna Capital rescinded its proposal, which asked The Home Depot to produce a detailed report on how these unsafe practices pose a risk to its employees, contractors and customers. Arjuna Capital has filed a similar shareholder proposal at Lowe’s Company Inc. Lowe’s paid a record-setting EPA fine in 2014 for allegations of similar violations.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner at Arjuna Capital, said: “Lead exposure is endemic in our society, and not only in water. It is a persistent and often invisible toxicant. While the Flint water crisis has hit the headlines, we can’t ignore the 37 million homes in this country with legacy lead paint. Disturbing that paint through home renovation leads to new cases of lead exposure every day. We simply cannot underestimate the public health threat and potential for consumer backlash presented by lead poisoning. Given children are incredibly vulnerable to lead exposures, a failure to manage this issue can place a company’s reputation at serious risk.”

Lamb added: “Fortunately, The Home Depot responded to our engagement with a very specific plan to address the issue head-on. It is not often we see a company make this type of sweeping commitment to address a problem. The Home Depot could be on the front lines of promoting lead-safety awareness. As a result, we are withdrawing our shareholder proposal.”

The Home Depot will take the following specific steps to improve lead safety awareness and take a leading role in requiring and promoting safe practices and lead testing among its customers in the construction industry, homeowners and landlords. With more than 3.5 million customers per day visiting stores, The Home Depot will: host in-store lead paint awareness events; highlight water & lead testing kits; make lead safety pamphlets available in every store; enhance lead safety information for new employees with training; provide free stir stick at the end of every paint sales transaction with message about lead safety; announce lead safety messaging over the loud speaker in stores; and include a lead-safety hold message on general phone lines. Online, The Home Depot has pledged to put lead safety messages on all paint landing pages in the center of the page. In addition, The Home Depot has committed to a lead safety awareness social media campaign.

In 2016, The Home Depot paid a penalty to the EPA for Repair Renovations and Repair (RRP) Rule violations after allegations that its services in Colorado failed to ensure proper management of lead contaminated waste debris and dust. This spurred Arjuna Capital to engage The Home Depot by filing a shareholder resolution calling for transparency on risks and corporate practices linked to lead safety awareness.

The huge societal costs of lead exposure are borne not only by the victims, but by the economy at large. In the United States, the loss of economic productivity due to childhood lead exposure is pegged at over $50 billion annually. Preventing such exposures would result in $1.2 trillion in savings. Most investors today are “universal owners”—investors with highly diversified long-term portfolios whose returns reflect the success or failure of the broad economy. The societal costs resulting from lead exposure hurt those returns.

Though sources of lead contamination have been regulated or banned, lead persists in many older buildings. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. homes have lead paint and lead contaminated dust — the leading cause of lead poisoning.

No level of lead exposure is considered safe at any age. But for children with developing brains, early exposure to this “cumulative toxicant” can cause severe neurological problems, decrease IQ rates, and produce poor behavioral outcomes. In January, the CDC’s advisory panel voted to recommend lowering what is considered an elevated lead level in children by 30 percent, to 3.5 micrograms of lead, which could lead to even greater awareness regarding the scope of the problem.

Lamb said: “As the largest US home improvement retailer, The Home Depot has a responsibility to act in good faith to ensure its customers’ safety. A failure to do so could carry severe repercussions for the brand. Our agreement with The Home Depot represents a common-sense approach to maximizing the flow of information to people most in harm’s way from lead exposure from paint and building materials. Our engagement has fostered meaningful action.”

Developing World Markets’ Social Impact Note Lends $60.8 Million for Off-Grid Solar and Climate Action

Funds on-lent to 11 microfinance institutions and off-grid solar companies operating in Latin America (Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua), Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania), and Asia (India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia)

Press Release – February 28, 2017 — Veteran U.S. social impact investment manager, Developing World Markets (DWM), has invested $60.8 million in 11 businesses promoting renewable energy and climate solutions across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Anchor investors in DWM’s ORCA (Off-Grid, Renewable and Climate Action) Impact Note include two faith-based pension funds, The Church Pension Fund and Wespath Benefits and Investments, with each contributing $30 million. Developing World Markets structured the transactions; the investees include off-grid solar operating companies, D.light, Kingo Energy, and Off-Grid Electric, as well as microfinance institutions Saija Finance, Satin Creditcare Network, KMF (Kazakhstan), XacBank, FDL (Nicaragua), Produbanco (Ecuador), Banco Procredit (Ecuador), and FINCA Nicaragua. Invested funds are earmarked for solar home solutions and other forms of renewable energy, as well as CO2 and greenhouse gas mitigation activities. DWM estimates the funding will enable some 200,000 families to access solar home solutions. Worldwide more than 2.2 billion people live without reliable access to electricity.

“The companies financed by the ORCA Note are employing innovative, market-based mechanisms to solve critical development needs. For the equivalent price of what was previously spent on outdated energy sources such as kerosene, low-income individuals in developing countries can access clean, modern renewable energy technology for their homes and families; addressing not only energy, but health issues as well,” said Peter Johnson, Managing Partner of Developing World Markets. “DWM is honoured to support these pioneering organizations, and we are in turn grateful for the support of our investors.”

The ORCA Impact Note is U.S. dollar denominated with a coupon of 5.85%. Its four year term will run through December 27, 2020. The structuring of the Note was unique in its transparency, as borrowers were pre-identified and noteholders were certain of where and how the proceeds would be used, prior to investment. Since its founding in 1994, DWM has structured and invested over $1 billion into more than 170 companies across more than 50 developing countries.

“The Church Pension Fund was pleased to serve as an anchor investor, which helped bring other investors to the table to provide renewable energy finance loans to social businesses in the developing world. This investment will impact the lives of people on three different continents and is reflective of our commitment to earning a competitive rate of return. We look forward to building our relationship with Developing World Markets as we continue to explore future SRI opportunities,” said Roger Sayler, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of The Church Pension Fund.

“Wespath was pleased to commit to the DWM ORCA Impact Note, an investment that focuses on providing critical energy access in the developing world,” said Dave Zellner, Chief Investment Officer of Wespath Benefits and Investments. “This impact investment, which continues a more than decade-long relationship with DWM, reflects the intent that our global investment activities have a positive impact on society and the environment while earning a market rate of return.”

Additional investors in the Note include King & Shaxson (London), Invethos (Switzerland) and Developing World Markets (United States). Law firms McGuire Woods, LLP in the United States and Arendt & Medernach in Luxembourg advised on the transaction.

About Developing World Markets

Developing World Markets (DWM) is an emerging and frontier markets focused, impact investment firm. DWM seeks investments that provide risk-appropriate returns and measurable social or environmental benefits. Since its founding in 1994, DWM has structured and invested over $1 billion into more than 170 companies across more than 50 developing countries. The firm is headquartered in Stamford, CT, USA. For more information visit: www.dwmarkets.com.

About Wespath Benefits and Investments

Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) is a general agency of The United Methodist Church with fiduciary responsibility for the benefit plans it administers and the assets it invests.

Wespath supports benefit plans for more than 100,000 participants around the world, and investments for more than 100 United Methodist-affiliated endowments, foundations and other institutions. Wespath manages approximately $21 billion in assets, proactively incorporating environmental, social and governance factors. Our activities reflect the stated values of the Church and help strengthen financial sustainability across all investments, consistent with our fiduciary obligation to all.

Wespath is the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world, and among the top 100 pension funds in the United States. As a sustainable investor, Wespath is committed to active ownership through corporate and public policy engagement, proxy voting and the management of excessive sustainability risk. Wespath’s sustainable investment activities are carried out by Wespath Investment Management, the agency’s investments division. Learn more at www.wespath.org.

About The Church Pension Fund

The Church Pension Fund (CPF) is an independent financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church. With approximately $12 billion in assets, CPF and its affiliated companies, collectively the Church Pension Group (CPG), provide retirement, health, and life insurance benefits to clergy and lay employees of the Episcopal Church. CPG also offers property and casualty insurance as well as book and music publishing, including the official worship materials of the Episcopal Church. Learn more at www.cpg.org.

Hartford Funds Launches Hartford Global Impact Fund, Expanding Socially Responsible Investing Lineup

Press Release – March 01, 2017 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time – RADNOR, Pa. — Hartford Funds today announced that it has launched the Hartford Global Impact Fund (A-share: HGXAX). Sub-advised by Wellington Management, the Hartford Global Impact Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in companies that focus their operations in areas that the Fund believes are likely to address the world’s major social and environmental challenges.

The Fund invests in companies that the sub-adviser believes are likely to address major social and environmental challenges including, but not limited to, health, clean water and sanitation, financial inclusion, alternative energy, and resource efficiency, as determined by Wellington.

“We’re delighted to expand our socially responsible investment solutions for investors who want to align their portfolios with their values,” said Anita Baldwin, Managing Director and Head of Research for Hartford Funds.

The Hartford Global Impact Fund complements Hartford Funds’ existing socially responsible investing solution, the Hartford Environmental Opportunities Fund (HEOMX). Launched in February 2016, the Environmental Opportunities Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by identifying companies it believes represent attractive investments and also address environmental challenges and/or seeks to improve the efficiency of resource consumption.

“The design and launch of the Hartford Global Impact Fund aligns with our human-centric investing philosophy and is a direct response to increasing advisor and investor demand for more products that take ESG factors into consideration,” Baldwin added.

Wellington Management’s Eric Rice, PhD., Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, and Patrick Kent, CFA, CMT, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, will manage the Hartford Global Impact Fund.

About Hartford Funds

Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading provider of mutual funds and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with leading practice management experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior.

As of October 24, 2016, the firm’s line-up includes more than 55 mutual funds in a variety of styles and asset classes, and five strategic beta ETFs. Its mutual funds (with the exception of certain fund of funds) are sub-advised by Wellington Management or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. The strategic beta ETFs offered by Hartford Funds are designed to help address investors’ evolving needs by leveraging a unique risk-optimized approach, which identifies risks within each asset class and then deliberately and systematically re-allocates capital toward risks more likely to enhance return potential. Hartford Funds has mutual fund assets under management of $81.5 billion as of December 31, 2016 (excluding assets used in certain annuity products). For more information about our investment family, visit www.hartfordfunds.com.

Important Information

All investments are subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee the Fund will achieve its stated objective. The Fund’s share price may fluctuate due to market risk and/or security selections that may underperform the market or relevant benchmarks. Foreign investments can be riskier and more volatile than U.S. investments due to the adverse effects of currency exchange rates, differences in market structure and liquidity, as well as political and economic developments in foreign countries and regions (e.g., “Brexit”). These risks are generally greater for investments in emerging markets. Small-cap securities can have greater risk and volatility than large-cap securities. Investing in companies that seek to address major social and environmental challenges may cause the Fund to forego certain investment opportunities and underperform Funds that do not have a similar focus. By investing in cash and money market investments, the Fund may lose the benefit of market upswings. Because it invests in a master portfolio, the Fund is also subject to the risks related to a master-feeder structure.

Hartford Funds refers to Hartford Funds Management Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including the mutual funds’ investment manager, Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC (HFMC), the mutual funds’ distributor, Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC, Member FINRA, as well as Lattice Strategies LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of HFMC, which serves as the adviser to exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Certain funds are sub-advised by Wellington Management Company LLP or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. Schroder Investment Management North America Ltd. serves as a secondary sub-adviser to certain funds. ETFs are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. (ALPS). Hartford Funds is not affiliated with any fund sub-adviser or ALPS. The MIT AgeLab is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Hartford Funds.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of a fund before investing. This and other information can be found in the fund’s prospectus, which should be read carefully before investing. To obtain a mutual fund prospectus or summary prospectus, please call 888-843-7824 (retail) or 800-279-1541 (institutional); ETF prospectuses can be obtained by calling 415-315-6600.

“The Hartford” is The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (“HFSG”) and its subsidiaries. HFD is a subsidiary of The HFSG.

HIG-W

Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in The Hartford’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings The Hartford makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

From time to time, The Hartford may use its website to disseminate material company information. Financial and other important information regarding The Hartford is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at http://ir.thehartford.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about The Hartford when you enroll your email address by visiting the “Email Alerts” section at http://ir.thehartford.com.

Nearly a Third of Non-Profit Institutional Investors Say They Make “Mission-Related” Investments, According to Cambridge Associates Survey

The Environment and Climate Change are Key Areas of Focus as Most Mission-Related Investors (Often Called Impact Investors) Intend to Increase These Allocations

Press Release – BOSTON, MA–(Marketwired – February 15, 2017) – Mission-related investing, which includes impact investing and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, is gaining significant momentum among non-profit institutional investors, according to a survey by global investment firm Cambridge Associates. The most common thematic focus among impact investors is the environment and climate change, with healthcare, housing, job creation, and education also cited as areas of interest by respondents in Mission-Related Investing: Current Practices and Views of Non-Profit Investors.

In a survey of 159 non-profit institutional investors around the globe, 31% say they’re currently engaged in mission-related investing — making investments designed to align with or advance institutional goals or values as well as provide financial returns. Of that group, 44% say they have increased their mission-related allocation over recent years, and 62% expect to grow their mission-related allocation in the coming five years. None of the institutions that currently make mission-related investments expect to decrease their allocations.

“This data confirms what we have observed among our clients over the past decade — that mission and impact investing has gained significant traction, and that many of our mission-focused clients view it as a core investment discipline with plans to deepen their commitment over time,” says Jessica Matthews, Managing Director at Cambridge Associates and head of the firm’s Mission-Related Investing Practice, which works with institutions to design and implement their mission related investing programs.

The respondents to the survey, fielded in 2016, include foundations, colleges and universities, religious institutions and pensions around the world, including in the United States, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK.

Growth in Mission-Related Investing Driven Largely by Environmental and Climate Change Concerns

Overall, about three-quarters (74%) of nonprofit mission-related investors expect to increase investments to ESG and climate change-related investment strategies. Cambridge Associates found that more than three-quarters (76%) of colleges and universities that make mission-related investments either currently consider climate risk when making investment decisions (41%) or anticipate doing so in the future (35%). Among foundations, 30% already consider climate risks, and 30% anticipate doing so going forward.

Among MRI strategies, the largest portion of investors reported employing negative screens; however, the survey found that investors anticipate proactively seeking ESG and environment/climate change opportunities more so than negative screening going forward.​

Challenges and Opportunities for Implementing Mission-Related Investing Strategies

Non-profit mission-related investors say the biggest challenge in implementing their strategies is a lack of adequate mission-related investment options, followed by their own resource constraints.

“The good news for mission-related investors is that we’re seeing a proliferation of ESG and impact investing strategies coming to market, so this product supply problem is becoming less of a barrier to entry over time,” says Matthews. “Across asset classes, we track over 1,000 MRI funds in our manager databases, and that number has steadily increased since we started tracking the data in 2008. That said, manager diligence and selection is increasingly important in this space just as it is within any other investment strategy.”

Matthews adds that an appropriate and well-constructed governance model — including setting a well-defined investment policy — can add to the success of an impact or mission-related investment program. “Institutions can lay the groundwork today that will help them arrive at better investing decisions in the future, regarding both risks and opportunities across the entire portfolio,” she says.

“Colleges, universities, foundations and family offices are increasingly paving the way in implementing thoughtful mission-related investing programs,” she adds. “Investors are truly starting to recognize that social and environmental goals can be effectively integrated alongside their investment objectives.”

For additional information and insights into the mission and origins of the Mission-Related Investing practice at Cambridge Associates, read an exclusive panelist Q&A featuring Jessica Matthews on The Economist’s Impact Investing blog. Matthews is participating in a discussion titled “Seeking Impact: The Measurement Challenge” at today’s The Economist’s Impact Investing Conference in New York.

Related Resources

About Cambridge Associates

Cambridge Associates is a global investment firm founded in 1973 that builds customized investment portfolios for institutional investors and private clients around the world. Working alongside its early clients, among them several leading universities, the firm pioneered the strategy of high equity orientation and broad diversification, which since the 1980s has been a primary driver of performance for these leading fiduciary investors. Cambridge Associates serves over 1,100 global investors — primarily foundations and endowments, pensions and family offices — and delivers a range of services, including outsourced investment (OCIO) solutions, traditional advisory services, and access to research and tools across global asset classes. Cambridge Associates has more than 1,300 employees — including over 150 research staff — serving its client base globally. The firm maintains offices in Arlington, VA; Boston; Dallas; Menlo Park and San Francisco, CA; London, UK; Singapore; Sydney; and Beijing. Cambridge Associates consists of five global investment consulting affiliates that are all under common ownership and control. For more information about Cambridge Associates, please visit www.cambridgeassociates.com.

Global Impact Investing Network Appoints Prudential’s Mark B. Grier As New Board Chair

Grier’s Appointment Signals Leadership Role For Prudential Among Institutional Investors In Impact Investing

Press Release – February 15, 2017. The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) today announced the appointment of Mark Grier as its new Board Chair. Grier serves as Vice Chairman at Prudential Financial Inc. Grier’s appointment marks a milestone in the advancement of the GIIN, which will benefit from Prudential’s more than 40 years of institutional impact investing experience.

“We are honored to welcome Mark as the new Board Chair of the GIIN,” said Amit Bouri, CEO and co-founder of the GIIN. “Mark’s extensive knowledge and expertise in financial services, coupled with his passion for impact investing, make him a great asset to the GIIN and to its members. We are confident that Mark’s leadership will help to propel the GIIN and the impact investing movement forward.”

As Vice Chairman at Prudential, Grier is a member of the Office of the Chairman and its Board of Directors and oversees the Chief Investment, Finance, Risk Management, Corporate Actuarial and Investor Relations functions, along with several other key functions. He also leads the Global Strategic Initiatives group that oversees Prudential’s international retirement and China strategies. Grier joined Prudential as Chief Financial Officer in 1995 and was named its Vice Chairman in 2002. Previously, he was co-head of Chase Global Markets and an Executive Vice President of The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.

“I am thrilled to join the GIIN to help further mobilize the investment community to address the major challenges of our time,” Grier said. “Since our founding, Prudential has been guided by a commitment to creating shared success for all members of society, including those traditionally underserved by the capital markets. The GIIN’s work is well-aligned with that purpose of delivering social impact alongside economic value.”

Prudential was an original member of the GIIN’s Investors’ Council, a leadership group for large-scale impact investors. Prudential’s public commitment to building a $1 billion portfolio of impact investments by 2020 paved a natural path for Grier’s appointment. Prudential was founded in Newark, NJ in 1875 as a social purpose business providing burial insurance to working families. The company remains headquartered in Newark and its founding mission is an essential part of the company’s purpose.

Effective immediately, Grier assumes the role of Chair from GIIN’s founding Board Chair, Antony Bugg-Levine, who will remain on the GIIN’s Board of Directors. Bugg-Levine played a pivotal role in launching the GIIN in 2009, and has served as Board Chair for the past seven years.

“The impact investing market has reached a point of inflection,” said Antony Bugg-Levine. “The growing involvement of ‘mainstream’ investors has brought large sums of capital to the industry and new commitments are being made at an increasing tempo. Mark’s experience will be incredibly valuable as the industry accelerates and welcomes more investors, helping to onboard them to ensure the integrity of the industry is preserved and the community remains committed to the impact ethos.”

Omidyar Network Invests In Property Rights Startup Landmapp To Help Ghanaian Farmers Document Their Land

Press Release – WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/Omidyar Network announced today that it has invested in Landmapp BV, an Amsterdam-based property rights company that enables smallholder farmers to document and protect their land holdings. The investment will help Landmapp to grow its customer base in Ghana, where the company is providing this unique service primarily to cocoa farmers. The transaction also involved participation by HERi Africa, an existing investor in the company. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Landmapp was established in 2015 by two Amsterdam-based entrepreneurs, Simon Ulvund and Thomas Vaassen. Landmapp offers a mobile platform that provides smallholder farmer families with documentation of their land. Their first country of operation is Ghana, and Ulvund and Vaassen have plans to expand into other countries following this successful rollout.

Many of the world’s 500 million smallholder families face two interrelated challenges: they hold little, if any, rights to their land and lack formal documentation; being restricted to the informal sector, they often cannot access technical and financial services to improve their livelihoods. Documented property rights enable them to plan for their future, including by investing in their land and property, insuring the health of their families and sending their children to school. This has a highly positive impact on the economic wellbeing of the farmers, their families and their communities.

For smallholder farmers, securing their land is often a large and very complex challenge. Landmapp provides an end to end affordable service, from the time the farmer signs up, till they hold a legal land certificate in their hands.

Landmapp has a field-based team of surveyors who use handheld GPS devices to map each farmer’s plot. The team verifies the farmer’s identify, validates the land claim with neighbours, submits the claim to the authorities for legalisation and delivers a final land certificate to the farmer. Already, the company has sold more than 2,000 documents to smallholder farmers in Ghana, demonstrating that farmers are willing and able to pay for this valuable documentation.

“We are delighted to be investing in Landmapp and its exciting model,” said Omidyar Network Venture Partner Peter Rabley. “They have clearly shown that farmers in Ghana understand the value of land documentation and are willing to pay for the legal protection they offer. We believe this model can be replicated in other countries.”

“Land and property rights is a complex sector, requiring significant knowledge and deep relationships in order to succeed. Omidyar Network has both, so we really couldn’t have a better partner on board,” said CEO Simon Ulvund. “And with HERi Africa, we have an investor with a thorough understanding of agriculture value chains and smallholders.”

“We’re now able to focus on growing our business in Ghana, first looking at scaling the number of land documents sold, while also partnering with complimentary businesses such as financial service providers, unlocking new products and services for smallholder farmers,” said Thomas Vaassen, the company’s CTO.

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $1 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights.

To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork

#PositiveReturns

Impact Community Capital Names Jeff Brenner CEO

Press Release – San Francisco, CA (February 7, 2017) – Impact Community Capital (ICC) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jeff Brenner as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Brenner previously served as the firm’s interim President and CEO.

Established in 1998, ICC has provided more than $1 billion in financing for affordable multifamily housing, community healthcare facilities, childcare centers, and other community facilities serving families and communities in 38 states plus the District of Columbia. It was founded by a consortium of insurance companies to facilitate their investments in projects that benefit low-income families and communities.

“The Board is excited to have Jeff leading Impact as it implements its new, five-year growth strategy,” said Tony Tomich, ICC Board Chair. “During his time as interim CEO, Jeff has demonstrated the passion, commitment and leadership to achieve our vision of growing the company. We have every confidence Jeff will help ICC and its investors make large scale investments that will provide opportunities for low income communities and families.”

Mr. Brenner has built an impressive career in community development finance over the past 23 years. Prior to joining ICC, he served as CFO of Capital Impact Partners. During his tenure there, the firm was a leading innovator in building a bridge between the capital markets and investing in underserved communities. Mr. Brenner raised more than $600 million in new capital to finance facilities for housing, healthcare, education and fresh foods. He grew assets under management from $255 million to over $800 million. Since joining ICC in 2012, the firm has provided nearly $400 million of financing for affordable multifamily housing and securitized over $300 million dollars of mortgages in two securitizations consisting solely of loans for affordable housing projects.

“ICC is a true industry pioneer, and I am excited about the opportunity created by the growing interest in impact investing to reach new investors and to make investments that will help communities reach their economic and social potential,” said Mr. Brenner. “I’ve spent the past 30 years working to invest capital to improve the lives of people and communities and in doing so, demonstrating that these investments can be suitable for institutional investors seeking investment safety while making a significant impact in the communities they serve.”

About Impact Community Capital LLC

Impact Community Capital LLC is a for-profit company founded by leading insurers to promote socially responsible investments in underserved communities. The company was an early leader in making investments that facilitate social change long before “Impact Investing” began its move to the mainstream. Impact pioneered the pooling and securitization of community investment portfolios to direct large amounts of capital for affordable housing and used federal New Markets Tax Credits to invest in community childcare and healthcare facilities. It is owned by the following insurance companies: Allstate Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance Exchange, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Pacific Life Insurance Company, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, and 21st Century Insurance Company. For more information, call (415) 981-1074, or visit www.Impactcapital.net

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