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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

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.

Circulate Capital Announces US$90 Million in Expected Funding To Combat Ocean Plastic

PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company Intend to Join Forces To Incubate and Invest in Solutions in South and Southeast Asia

Press Release – New York City and Singapore, October 25, 2018Circulate Capital, the investment management firm dedicated to incubating and financing companies and infrastructure that prevent ocean plastic, today announced that it expects to receive US$90 million in funding for its strategy to combat ocean plastic from several of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods and chemical companies, including PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), the first investor; Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Dow (NYSE: DWDP), Danone (EPA: BN), Unilever (NYSE: UN) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO). Circulate Capital anticipates formalizing definitive agreements with these parties by early 2019.

Circulate Capital, its expected founding investors, and the Ocean Conservancy, a leading nonprofit environmental advocacy organization working to protect the world’s ocean, will hold a joint event during the Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia on October 29, where they will provide an overview of Circulate Capital’s unique investment model, which is designed to create the lasting systems change needed to address the ocean plastic crisis.

Circulate Capital’s mission is to demonstrate the investibility of the waste management and recycling sectors to attract the billions of dollars of institutional investment capital that are needed to scale integrated recycling and waste management companies and infrastructure across South and Southeast Asia, regions identified as contributing disproportionately to ocean plastic pollution primarily because they lack the critical waste infrastructure to manage the problem. Circulate Capital’s investment model seeks to mobilize institutional investment capital through financial structures that blend concessionary and philanthropic funds with market rate investment capital with a view to mitigating risk and demonstrating that investment in the resource recovery sector can ultimately provide attractive financial returns.

“We seek to catalyze systems change by removing capital as a barrier to critical waste and recycling infrastructure development, and today’s funding announcement is a huge step towards achieving this goal,” said Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital. “Institutional investors are unwilling to allocate to this sector because of a ’missing middle‘ — proven entities that demonstrate a track record of profitability and offer a robust pipeline of investment prospects. By partnering with the world’s leading corporations, many of which are direct competitors, we can leverage their patient capital and technical know-how to build on-ramps for institutional capital at scale over the longer-term.”

“PepsiCo wants to help create, reimagine and realign the entire ecosystem that generates and remediates ocean plastic pollution,” said Dr. Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. “We joined Circulate Capital as the very first funder because we share their inspired vision to develop a circular economy in which we can take old plastics and turn them into a new, reusable resource for future materials. It’s what consumers want, it’s the right thing to do for our planet and oceans, and it’s good for business.”

“P&G remains committed to doing our part to help stop the flow of plastic to the ocean and we know it will take partnerships and collaboration to make meaningful progress. We’re proud to join our fellow investors and the Circulate Capital team in working together to generate the innovation and investment needed to solve this critical global issue,” said Procter & Gamble Vice President of Global Sustainability, Virginie Helias.

“Circulate Capital’s initiative is important because it empowers local people in the regions most impacted by waste to develop actionable and scalable solutions within their communities,” said Diego Donoso, business president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “There are many people with both the ideas and the resolve to tackle this waste challenge and Dow is proud to help provide the capital to make those ideas into solutions.”

“While we are working hard to ensure our packaging is designed to be circular, the reality is that it cannot be reused, recycled or composted without effective waste management systems in place,” said Katharina Stenholm, Chief of Cycles and Procurement Officer of Danone. “Financing is often a barrier for proper waste management infrastructure implementation, especially in countries where formal systems are absent or in development. Investing in Circulate Capital would perfectly fit our roadmap and would support our vision towards a fully circular system where our packaging is safely reused, recycled or composted and never becomes waste or pollution.”

“We’re proud to be taking a leading role in tackling packaging waste, but we can’t do this alone. Moving away from a linear ‘take-make-dispose’ model of consumption to one that is circular by design will require new business models, investment in innovation and the development of infrastructure,” said David Blanchard, Unilever’s Chief R&D Officer. “This collaboration with Circulate Capital and other partners is an important step in unlocking the investment required to accelerate and scale up meaningful solutions to prevent plastic waste.”

“At Coca-Cola, we believe that every package has a value and a life beyond its first use, which is why we are fundamentally reshaping our approach to packaging with a bold, ambitious goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030,” said Bea Perez, Coca-Cola SVP, Chief Communications, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Marketing Assets Officer. “Working with other partners and organizations, our global World Without Waste program aims to help create and implement effective collection and recycling infrastructures, so that empty bottles can have another life. Investing in Circulate Capital brings us all closer to the change needed to make plastic pollution a thing of the past. We believe it’s the right thing to do for our planet and our communities.”

“Ocean Conservancy has been tracking marine debris for more than three decades through our annual International Coastal Cleanup, and we have seen firsthand how plastic has made its way to the top of the list of materials polluting our beaches and waterways,” said Chever Voltmer, Plastics Initiative Director at Ocean Conservancy. “With an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year we need all hands on deck to solve this problem, including the private sector. That’s why we were so eager to work with Circulate Capital and corporate partners last year to launch an investment firm that would invest in much-needed waste management solutions; and we are so proud to join them in making this funding announcement.”

Circulate Capital’s strategy to prevent future ocean plastic reflects a uniquely comprehensive approach that goes beyond providing investment capital to entrepreneurs. Through The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital and SecondMuse, announced on September 20, 2018 at the G7 Oceans Partnership Summit in Halifax, Canada, Circulate Capital is also using philanthropic and public funds and technical assistance to support and develop public and nonprofit entities to implement new approaches and build capacity that can support large institutional capital commitments.

Kaplan added: “Circulate Capital’s innovative strategy addresses the critical gaps in capital needed – including investment, philanthropic and human capital – to create an ecosystem of innovation, investment, entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships to solve the problem. The model relies on partnering with local innovators who are implementing solutions on the ground in source communities, and on incentivizing a new generation of social entrepreneurs to build a fresh pipeline of potential projects.”

Our Ocean Conference Event Details

Circulate Capital and the Ocean Conservancy plan to host a side event at the Our Ocean Conference on October 29th, ‘Ocean Plastics: The Role of Catalytic Capital’ at 12:30pm. Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital and Susan Ruffo, Managing Director, International Initiatives for the Ocean Conservancy, will discuss the importance of catalytic capital in solving the ocean plastic crisis. Expected founding investors including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company are planning to attend. Mr. Kaplan will also be joined by representatives from the Indonesian government and an Indonesian waste-management entrepreneur, as well as principals from SecondMuse and McKinsey.org, which are partners in the recently launched The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital and SecondMuse, a new initiative to accelerate solutions to ocean plastic waste by partnering with existing incubators to build ecosystems of waste management and recycling innovators.

About Circulate Capital

Circulate Capital is an investment management firm dedicated to incubating and financing companies and infrastructure that prevent ocean plastic. We focus on the prevention of mismanaged plastic waste in countries located in South Asia and Southeast Asia, regions that contribute disproportionately to ocean plastic pollution primarily because they often lack the critical waste infrastructure to manage the problem. We were created in collaboration with Closed Loop Partners and Ocean Conservancy, and our founding investors are expected to include PepsiCo, the first investor; Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company. We are also supported by many other leading consumer product goods and chemical companies, intergovernmental organizations and associations including 3M, American Chemistry Council, Kimberly-Clark, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and the World Plastics Council.

About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. www.oceanconservancy.org


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ImpactAssets Builds Out Executive Leadership Team; Adds Trilli as Seasoned President and Chief Investment Officer, Promotes Freundlich to CEO

Margret Trilli brings strategic and executive leadership to extend organizational excellence and drive continued growth toward a multi-billion-dollar impact investing platform; founder Tim Freundlich promoted to Chief Executive Officer to lead business innovation and field-building; Gabe DiClerico named CFO to elevate finance administration capability.

Press Release – BETHESDA, MD October 24, 2018ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns, today announced the addition of Margret Trilli to its executive leadership team as President and Chief Investment Officer, effective immediately. In this role, Margret will apply her deep investment and business building experience, and passion for impact investing, to drive extensive and sustainable growth at ImpactAssets. Founder Tim Freundlich has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer and will spearhead critical initiatives to keep ImpactAssets on the leading edge of impact investing.

“We started ImpactAssets in 2010 as a catalyst for increasing flows of capital to the world’s greatest challenges,” said Freundlich. “Today, as we approach $500 million in donor advised funds and impact investments, our organization has matured and grown. Margret’s strategic leadership and investment experience will enable ImpactAssets to scale up and enhance our leading-edge impact investment offerings for individuals, advisors, corporations and other partners.”

Margret Trilli’s 25-year career includes executive leadership, investment and operating roles for large and small companies, including Barclays Global Investors/Blackrock and Charles Schwab. Her experience spans investment management, product management, strategy and planning, reengineering, turnarounds and business building.

She founded Intentional Capital, a boutique private equity firm serving custom direct investments to a select group of family offices, many of whom have fully developed impact investing strategies. Margret also serves on the boards and investment committees of three family offices. She graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a degree in Economics from University of California Santa Barbara.

Trilli, along with the senior team and board of ImpactAssets, will lead the expansion of the organization’s five-year strategy and focus on product and business development for the next phase of growth. The addition of the President role will allow Freundlich to focus on innovation for corporations, ultra-high net worth families, and other institutional partners.

“I am excited to join Tim and the amazing team at ImpactAssets as we build on the impressive foundation and enter a new phase of growth,” said Trilli. “ImpactAssets is so much more than a donor advised fund; it’s a massive impact investing platform positioned to catalyze billions toward great social impact. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of that!”

In addition, ImpactAssets announced the recent promotion of Gabe DiClerico to Chief Financial Officer. With over 15 years’ experience in impact investing, DiClerico has helped set up and implement organizational strategy, as well as financial and administrative processes since the inception of ImpactAssets.

“This is a coming of age moment for ImpactAssets – and also reflects the maturation of the greater impact investing story,” said Board Chair Charly Kleissner. “Our opportunity as an organization is so great – and the need for us to continue to lead still so critical – that this bolstering of executive leadership ensures ImpactAssets will remain at the forefront of an exciting and necessary transformation of the financial system.”

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (“The Giving Fund”) and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors advance social or environmental change through impact investment and philanthropy. The Giving Fund currently has nearly $500M in assets from more than 1,100 donor advised funds, working with 300 wealth advisors across 50 financial services firms.


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Wahed Raises $8MM In Series A Funding to Accelerate International Expansion

The world’s first Shariah-compliant Robo Advisor raises more than $8m in funding at a $100mm valuation to accelerate expansion into global markets

Press Release – New York, USA, October 24, 2018Wahed Invest (“Wahed”), a New York headquartered Robo Advisor, has raised an additional $8mm this year, at a $100mm valuation, to accelerate development of a global savings and investing solution. The digital investment company received this funding from existing investors including Boston-based Cue Ball Capital, and BECO Capital, a Middle Eastern VC. This brings its total funding to over $15 million since 2015.

Wahed revolutionized the industry with the first-ever halal digital investment advisor, allowing savers from all income brackets to invest in a globally diversified portfolio of ethically responsible stocks, Sukuk (Islamic bonds) and gold with as little as $100. Wahed became the largest Islamic Investment Advisor in the USA, by number of clients, in just one year after launch.

According to Founder and CEO Junaid Wahedna, “After our traction in the US and UK, we are actively looking to expand internationally to offer our product to the world. Wahed aspires to lead innovation in the growing Islamic Finance sector and provide a non-lending based savings solution to Muslims worldwide”

The platform will offer an efficient solution to the millions of practising Muslims who do not wish to custody their money with traditional banks. Currently, existing Islamic banks still function as lending institutions by using Shariah compliant lending structures. Wahedna said, “Our survey results show that 84% of respondents do not trust existing Islamic Banks as being truly Islamic. We want to offer a pure investment based savings solution that never touches on any lending components”.

Amir Farha, Managing Partner at BECO Capital said, “Junaid and his team at Wahed have continued to execute and build the global coverage of their offering in an extraordinary manner, giving access to a significant market that needs this service. The company is fast outpacing traditional incumbents and driving innovation in a sector that lags behind. We are very bullish on the vision and strategy that Wahed is pursuing both globally and in the MENA region”

Addressable Market

There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world with a very large portion entering into the middle class in need of a savings solution. Wahed recently launched in the UK. “Our UK product, which we launched in August, saw over 1,000 registered users in the first month, which was more than twice the rate of adoption that we saw in the US,” said ad Kobeissi, Head of Marketing. As a next priority, Wahed plans on launching in the GCC and ASEAN markets. Muslim consumers here are a largely young and rapidly growing demographic. Wahedna adds, “Our aim is to ensure that everyone around the world has access to a Shariah compliant savings and investment platform, and this funding brings us one step closer to that goal.”

In order to ensure all products are Halal and in accordance with Islamic principles, Wahed has a full-time Ethical Review Board. All securities undergo a rigorous screening process in which Wahed’s investment management partners and ethical scholars work together to tailor portfolios to provide attractive investment returns. This means the following are screened: excess debt, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, gambling, adult entertainment, impure foodstock and usurious institutions.

For more information about Wahed, please visit wahedinvest.com


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Giving Compass in Partnership with The Raikes Foundation and Schwab Charitable Launches New Tools to Help Donors Give with Impact

Giving Compass provides a gateway to Impact Philanthropy with over 17,000 high quality articles on 40+ giving topics; Schwab Charitable is the first non-profit to offer its donors customized news through the Giving Compass API

Giving Planner serves the needs of individual donors in the US harnessing content and insights from Giving Compass and the Impact-Driven Philanthropy Initiative, now available at givingplanner.org

Press Release – SEATTLE, Oct. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Giving Compass is the destination for individual philanthropists on their quest to learn, connect and take action around causes closest to their hearts and connect to tools for better giving. Giving Compass today announced the release of two new tools. First, we are offering a content integration tool offering US websites the opportunity to present a curated collection of giving resources from vetted sources in an enhanced user experience. Schwab Charitable, one of the largest national providers of donor-advised funds and other philanthropic services, is the first to offer a series of customized news feeds from Giving Compass, which will appear on various pages of the Schwab Charitable website, www.schwabcharitable.org.

Second, we are introducing the Giving Planner. Giving Planner is a digital tool for donors to benchmark, plan, track, and analyze their giving from any device. Giving Planner was created through a catalytic grant from the Raikes Foundation as a way to help individuals set giving goals and practice giving more strategically with a simple digital tool.

“I am thrilled to see the partnership forming between Giving Compass and Schwab Charitable. We both care deeply about helping individuals increase their support for the causes they care about most. Providing Schwab Charitable’s active donors with Giving Compass’ tools and resources can influence generosity in ways that lead to faster progress on issues and in communities, here and around the world,” said Jeff Raikes, Co-Founder, The Raikes Foundation.

Every week, Giving Compass curates hundreds of articles and videos for one purpose: to help individuals in the US become impact-driven philanthropists. Nonprofits and mission-driven corporate partners have access to a free widget (givingcompass.org/widget) which allows organizations to post fresh daily content from Giving Compass and filter by topics including:

  • Philanthropy
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Human Rights
  • Human Services
  • Health
  • Arts and Culture

The Giving Compass API allows even greater content customization than the free widget. Schwab Charitable has tailored its Giving Compass content via the API to help donors understand where and how they can have the most impact on causes and charities that mean the most to them. Visitors to the Schwab Charitable website can find the new curated news feeds by selecting pages from the “Maximize your Impact” drop down list on the homepage.

“We are so pleased that Schwab Charitable is the first partner to integrate our content directly into its public, digital site. The Giving Compass API allows non-profit organizations and corporate partners to customize content selections and serve up articles seamlessly on their website. We expect large nonprofits and other organizations working with philanthropically-minded individuals to follow Schwab Charitable’s lead,” said Larry Leibowitz, Giving Compass Board Member and former COO of The New York Stock Exchange.

“At Schwab Charitable, we are committed to providing donors with the best-in-class tools and resources to help them achieve maximum impact with their philanthropy. Through our partnership with the Raikes Foundation and Giving Compass, we offer donors access to extensive and diverse philanthropic content and tools which will help them embrace an even more thoughtful and informed approach to their charitable giving,” added Fred Kaynor, Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Schwab Charitable.

Donors can take the next step from learning to taking action by using the Giving Planner. With Giving Planner, philanthropists and individuals can align their giving with the issues and causes they care about. Most people budget to guide their personal spending and track spending against a budget. Similarly when giving, developing giving goals and managing to those goals can increase donor impact.

In the first module, users can easily create a giving budget in minutes and compare their giving budget to others matching their demographic profile, including income and age. In the initial plan, users are asked to specify their core focus areas and assign percentages they wish to allocate to the focus areas of their choice. The tool also suggests setting aside 20% of giving plans as a “giving buffer” for disaster- related and other unplanned requests that often emerge via conversations.

The Giving Planner allows users to select core focus areas including:

  • Early childhood
  • Human rights
  • Clean energy
  • Women & girls
  • Public health
  • Homelessness & housing
  • Arts & culture

Giving Planner allows for simple tracking and managing of donor activities. Take a photograph and upload receipts in real-time, input volunteer time or in-kind donations easily. As each contribution is recorded, it influences the user’s Giver Score which provides feedback on giving practices. Giving Planner’s dataset draws from 3.5 million IRS records and uses a proprietary algorithm to inform an individual Giver Score, allowing for benchmarking and improvement over time. Best-in-class data encryption and multi-factor authentication assure users of their privacy in inputting financial information.

Impact Philanthropy is the practice of strategically using time and resources to make meaningful, measurable change. Impact Philanthropists are guided by these principles:

  • Clear, Sustained, Focus. Focused giving on specific issues or places, especially those where there is a personal passion.
  • Research-Informed Strategy. Exploring the landscape and understanding the needs of those one is trying to help, as well as the capacity of potential partners.
  • Continuous Collaboration & Learning. Joining forces with others to achieve greater impact than one can on their own.

About Giving Compass

Giving Compass provides a Gateway to Impact Philanthropy. The organization offers leading resources about charitable giving and the non-profit sector. By curating and aggregating the best material from around the web about philanthropy, coupled with a team of journalists creating original content and fresh insights, Giving Compass will lead you to more effectively give of your time and money. Giving Compass uses the newest technologies to create and build tools for philanthropists to make better and more impactful charitable decisions. For more information, please visit: https://givingcompass.org.

About Schwab Charitable

Schwab Charitable is a donor-advised fund established as a service for individual investors to help increase their charitable giving. Since its inception in 1999, Schwab Charitable has facilitated over $10 billion in grants to approximately 131,000 charities on behalf of its donors. Schwab Charitable serves a wide range of investors and has been a pioneer in enabling registered investment advisors to manage the investments of donor-advised fund accounts. Schwab Charitable also offers a private foundation conversion service for private foundations considering a donor-advised fund as a complementary or alternative charitable vehicle. For more information, including a short video describing the benefits of donor-advised funds, visit schwabcharitable.org.

A donor’s ability to claim itemized deductions is subject to a variety of limitations depending on the donor’s specific tax situation. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

Schwab Charitable is the name used for the combined programs and services of Schwab Charitable Fund, an independent nonprofit organization, which has entered into service agreements with certain affiliates of The Charles Schwab Corporation. Schwab Charitable Fund is recognized as a tax-exempt public charity as described in Sections 501(c)(3), 509(a)(1), and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions made to Schwab Charitable Fund are considered an irrevocable gift and are not refundable. Please be aware that Schwab Charitable has exclusive legal control over the assets you have contributed. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is correct, Schwab Charitable cannot guarantee its accuracy. This information is not provided to the IRS.


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Advisors See Increased Interest In Responsible Investing

ESG investing could drive new business for advisors

Press Release – BOSTON, October 22, 2018 – Responsible Investing continues to be a key area of focus for financial advisors according to the latest Eaton Vance Advisor Top-of-Mind Index (ATOMIX) survey of more than 600 advisors, with nearly eight out of 10 (79%) reporting they incorporate Responsible Investing into their practices. Of those, 44% said it is an important part of their practices, up from 31% in Q2 2018. Thirty-five percent reported increased interest from clients and 60% said Responsible Investing is an ongoing topic of discussion.

“Responsible Investing strategies allow advisors to take a more holistic approach to wealth management with their clients,” said Anthony Eames, director of responsible investing strategy at Calvert Research and Management. “As Responsible Investing gains in popularity, there’s increased dialogue between advisors and their clients.”

More than half (56%) of advisors said Responsible Investing is driving new business to their practices, yet only 35% classified themselves as “very well-informed” about Responsible Investing.

“We are working to bridge this information gap by offering advisors enhanced tools and educational programs,” said Mr. Eames. “Offering a full suite of Responsible Investing solutions can be a key differentiator for advisors trying to deepen and expand their client relationships.”

Research powers Responsible Investing

Advisors recognize the value of both qualitative and quantitative research behind Responsible Investing products. Eighty-seven percent said a robust research program is important to Environmental Social Governance (ESG) analysis, but 67% said it is difficult for investors to obtain measurable quantitative sustainability data from companies. Moreover, 54% admitted they don’t understand the connection between ESG performance and financial performance.

Jessica Milano, director of ESG research for Calvert Research and Management, argues there is a direct correlation between a company’s financial performance and its commitment to its customers, workers and the broader community it serves.

“Financial materiality is the key to effective, impactful ESG research,” said Ms. Milano. “Calvert’s proprietary research process leverages multiple data sources to capture and analyze ESG factors that drive company financial performance over the long term.

“Data show that firms that optimize their ESG practices tend to be rewarded for their efforts, along with their shareholders,” continued Ms. Milano.

Material and measurable results are also critical; 93% of advisors said demonstrating the impact of ESG investments is important to them and their clients. Taking an active role factors into Responsible Investing outcomes, with 82% of advisors stating it is important to engage with company leadership to drive positive business and ESG outcomes.

“It’s important to recognize that not all ESG strategies are created equal,” said Mr. Eames. “Our investment strategies follow the Four Pillars of Responsible Investing – performance, research, engagement and impact – which empower investors to seek competitive returns with portfolios that reflect their values and help drive measurable, positive change.”


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Wahed Launches First App-Based Halal Stock Screener

New Free Tool Allows Investors to Quickly Determine if Stock is Halal

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY, October 18, 2018Wahed Invest (“Wahed”), the first fully digital Halal-focused ethical investing platform, today announced the launch of its “Halal Stock Screener,” a first-of-its-kind, free app that allows investors to determine if a company in which they are considering investing is “Halal.” Currently, faith-based investors are limited to investing in mutual funds or paying institutional rates for Shari’ah certifications. The Halal Stock Screener aims to democratize Halal investing, and is available as a free app on both Google Play and the Apple App store.

With Wahed’s Halal Stock Screener, users can search from over 50,000 stocks globally and request an analysis to see if they are AAOIFI compliant and ethical in nature. The analysis uses real-time data supplied by Thomson Reuters, and provides free information, including a company overview, stock pricing, financial ratios, company size, price per share data and estimates, as well as an automated halal quantitative analysis from leading financial organizations.

The Halal investing principles are confirmed by screening stocks for tobacco, alcohol, firearms, gambling, adult entertainment, impure food stock, usurious institutions, excess debt, excess interest, and other concerning financial ratios. Stocks are also screened by Wahed’s experts for the presence of interest, or Riba, and all other impermissible sources of income.

The app also includes a Zakat calculator, allowing users to accurately determine their Zakat annual contribution, which entails donating a portion of one’s wealth to those in need. Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

“With thousands of potential stocks available, it can be daunting for people to know if they are investing ethically,” said Kareem Tabbaa, CPO, Wahed. “The new Wahed Halal Stock Screener delivers an easy and fast way to determine if a stock meets a users’ ethical standards. This is an important tool for anyone who wishes to invest ethically, especially Muslims who seek to ensure that their investments are Halal.”

Additionally, the Halal Stock Screener app can provide users an official qualitative Shari’ah certification, and a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) review of the ethical policies on any stock selected, for $9.99 per stock. The qualitative screening determines compliance based on The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) methodology.

Wahed is the only Halal-focused investing platform that is overseen by an Ethical Review Board, preventing concerned Muslims and others from investing in companies that do not agree with their values (e.g., companies involved in any aspect of the liquor, firearms, gambling and tobacco industries). The platform also screens investments that generate profit from interest and those that do not comply with certain debt ratios.

About Wahed

Wahed is a technology driven company democratizing Islamic finance by increasing investment accessibility. Wahed’s investment portfolios are approved by an Ethical Review Board, enabling concerned investor to feel confident that their investments are halal. Please see www.wahedinvest.com for more information about Wahed.


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Aqua-Spark, Pioneer Investment Fund for Sustainable Aquaculture, Announces its First Investment in Feeding Optimization Technology for Cage Farming

CageEye Uses Industry-Leading IoT Technology and Acoustic Data to Analyze Behavior and Optimize Feed Efficiency

Press Release – New York, NY (October 18, 2018)Aqua-Spark, the pioneer investment fund focused exclusively on sustainable aquaculture, today announced its investment in the Norwegian technology company CageEye. With the funds, CageEye will invest in R&D, grow its team and expand its customer support network.

As a software and hardware developer focused on farm management, CageEye is known for its echo-sounder technology – which uses acoustic data and machine learning to measure and analyze biomass movements. This enables farmers to make informed decisions about the welfare of their fish, and automate and optimize common procedures, such as feeding.

The current iteration of CageEye’s echo-sounder is focused on improving the Salmon industry’s feeding practices, as feed is the single biggest cost input for any aquaculture operation. Inexact feeding regimes result in over or under feeding, which leads to: significant feed losses, higher Feed Conversion Ratios, and slower growth. Even though the Norwegian Salmon industry has some of the most advanced feeding practices, there is still a significant potential for improvement.

Long-term, CageEye aims for its innovations to reach more species and the aquaculture industry at-large.

“Current market practice is to use optical underwater cameras, which cover a very limited field of view and lead to highly subjective decisions,” explains Bendik S. Søvegjarto, CEO of CageEye. “Our acoustical system covers the whole feeding zone and makes consistent decisions meal after meal, which improve as we continue to train our models on growing data sets of salmon behavior and accompanying feed operator decisions.”

“Aqua-Spark provides long-term equity with no defined exit horizon, and the funding enables us to scale our team even faster, increase the customer value we deliver and allow on-boarding of new selected customers,” comments Ivar Strand, Chairman of CageEye.

“We are very excited to have Aqua-Spark on our team with their vast network and expertise within seafood, beyond salmon which is our current focus,” Søvegjarto adds. “Aqua-Spark also aligns very well with our core value of sustainability and shares our vision on how to feed a growing population without sacrificing our planet or the environment”

“Improving feed and addressing feed loss have been a priority within our portfolio from Aqua-Spark’s inception, as it’s the greatest challenge for any fish farm,” said Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark. “With CageEye, we’re able to support improvements in cage farm management, including how feed is distributed. Beyond this, we’re excited to see how their behavior assessment technology will impact other areas of farming as the company matures.”

With this round, CageEye has raised a total of €5.3 million in funding and grants since 2016, when it first began to offer its products for commercial use. This includes a recent investment from Breed Reply. The company has also secured a total of €2.5 million in funding in 2019.

About Aqua-Spark

Aqua-Spark is an investment fund with a focus on sustainable aquaculture businesses around the world. The small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in which they invest are working toward the sustainable production of aquatic life, such as fish, shellfish, and plants. Aqua-Spark believes that committing to a long-term vision is the way to realize effective and lasting results.

Since 2015, the fund has made 16 investments in 13 complementary SMEs including:

  • SognAqua: A Norwegian fish farm with the potential to change the way red-listed Atlantic Halibut is farmed.
  • Calysta (3 investments): A biotechnology company that is transforming fish feed–making it healthier and more environmentally sound.
  • eFishery: A crucial technology for monitoring fish feed with the power to revolutionize commercial aquaculture.
  • ChicoaFish Farms (2 investments): A fish farm that offers a vertically integrated solutions to the freshwater aquaculture industry in Mozambique.
  • Matorka: a landbased, geothermal Arctic Charr farm in Iceland.
  • Indian Ocean Trepang: An innovative sea cucumber farming operation in Madagascar.
  • LoveTheWild: A US-based company that produces sustainable, delicious ready to prepare seafood kits.
  • Protix: A highly technological and data driven insect producer.
  • Proteon: a leader in natural, safe and environmentally sustainable phage-platform technology, an alternative to antibiotics.
  • Cryoocyte: a reproductive technology platform for high precision fish farming.
  • Hatch: the world’s first accelerator focused on the aquaculture industry.
  • XpertSea: a data-driven Canadian aquaculture technology company.
  • CageEye: a data-driven company analyzing fish behavior using hydro-acoustics and machine learning to optimize feeding.

Thus far, Aqua-Spark has EUR 49,2 million under management, dedicated to investments in elements of the aquaculture industry that will make fish farming sustainable. The goal of the fund is to grow to EUR 1,5 billion AUM by 2025.

CageEye

CageEye has developed world-leading IoT technology for the salmon farming industry designed to analyze the behavior of the biomass in a cage and improve feeding processes, which is a key cost facing producers. It also has functionalities set for fully automated feeding.

CageEye’s easy-to-install solution delivers appetite controlled feeding which can substantially reduce the cost of feed waste and increase growth. The system, developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, uses acoustic data and advanced analytics to detect when the fish are hungry or full, and is a tool to improve feeding and growth while reducing waste. Already being used by some of the world’s leading salmon producers in Norway, CageEye has evidence of their business model and rapid market adoption, and has identified opportunities to expand the use of the technology in new regions as well as other species.


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Good Returns and Inverdale Capital Management Surpass $10 Million in Guarantee Program for Impact Investors

Press Release – Dallas, TX – October 17, 2018 – Good Returns, the Dallas-based hybrid social enterprise whose unique philanthropic model for businesses helps create sustainable social impact, and Inverdale Capital Management, an asset management firm focused on alternative investments, today announced that they have raised more than $10 million in funding for their Guarantee-Investment-Values Strategies (GIVS).

GIVS provide guarantee capacity for impact lending programs and also target a financial return for participating investors. The capital provides a backstop for the Good Returns Cycle program, which creates impact by providing funding for organizations that address social issues. Investors in GIVS designate a portion of their managed assets to serve as collateral for Good Returns impact loans, while the assets remain continuously invested throughout the Cycle.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the high level of interest that GIVS have received in the impact investment community,” said Ryan Small, Managing Partner at Inverdale Capital Management. “This interest demonstrates that many investors are aligned with our belief that social impact can go hand in hand with strategies that target financial returns.”

Since the launch of GIVS in May 2018, Good Returns has initiated four new domestic and international Cycles. These Cycles have advanced women entrepreneurs and provided scaling capital for impact programs that focus on key areas of need, including poverty, education and health, among others.

“Our GIVS impact investment guarantee program has made it possible to offer companies the opportunity to participate in Good Returns Cycles that are much larger in both impact and scale,” said Kyle Lukianuk, President of Good Returns. “Good Returns can now help many more companies deploy sustainable capital for good.

More impact organizations will get the resources they need to fulfill their missions, and in doing so, more lives will be improved around the world.”


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Closed Loop Fund Invests $1.5M In rPlanet Earth To Close The Loop On Plastic Packaging In California

Press Release – Closed Loop Fund announced today a $1.5M investment in rPlanet Earth’s first plant located in Vernon CA. rPlanet Earth is the world’s first completely vertically integrated manufacturer of post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) and multiple high rPET content packaging products under a single roof, creating a much needed market for PET packaging collected from curbside recycling programs across the state. In addition to the Closed Loop Fund investment, rPlanet Earth also received a $3 million grant and $4 million in loans from California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). “California needs more projects like this to overcome current global market challenges, which can be greatly alleviated by building a more robust recycling infrastructure within our own state,” said Scott Smithline, director of the state agency CalRecycle, “We’re pleased to see the private sector join us in these efforts, and encourage manufacturers to also help at the front end by reducing waste and improving product recyclability to further support recyclers and the markets they serve.”

Ellen Martin, Closed Loop Fund’s Vice President of Impact adds, “Recycling is good business if the infrastructure is optimized and markets are local. We are committed to investing our capital on the West Coast to help create jobs and rebuild America’s recycling markets. rPlanet Earth helps bring a closed loop solution for everyday plastic packaging to California.” Products and packaging made with post-consumer recycled content are increasingly a global priority for the world’s largest consumer brands and retailers, including Closed Loop’s investors.

Using PET from California’s municipal recycling programs as feedstock, the Vernon facility will produce high quality bottle preforms, thermoformed containers for deli and produce applications and other packaging that exceed the Food & Drug Administration’s requirements for direct food contact applications. According to Bob Daviduk, Co-CEO of rPlanet Earth, “This announcement is just the beginning. By 2020, we plan to install a second parallel production line that will, by volume, make the plant the largest food grade rPET plant in the U.S and one of the largest in the world.” The Company will employ about 135 employees and process about 90 million lbs. of post-consumer PET per year with the commencement of operations of the first post-consumer PET recycling and packaging manufacturing line during Q4 2018. With the addition of the second production line the Company expects to employ 250 or more full time employees and process at least 180 million lbs. per year of post-consumer PET.

Due to rPlanet’s vertically-integrated and streamlined manufacturing process, the carbon footprint associated with their packaging will be the lowest in the industry. The company estimates that every ton of PET recycled at rPlanet Earth’s facility will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 metric tons of CO2 – That’s like not using almost 6 barrels of oil for every ton of rPlanet Earth’s products. “Without bold solutions for plastics, like rPlanet Earth, California risks environmental degradation and costly dependence on overseas markets,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. “The rPlanet Earth project is a great example of innovative public-private partnerships in California creating green jobs and a closed loop economy.”

About Closed Loop Fund

Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. Closed Loop Fund aims to invest $100 million by 2025 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America and build circular supply chains. Closed Loop Fund brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail, and financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. Closed Loop Fund investors include 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Dr. Pepper, Nestlé Waters North America, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and the Walmart Foundation. For more information, visit www.closedlooppartners.com


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Calvert Announces Hiring of Senior ESG Research Analysts

Daniel Dorman, Hellen Mbugua, John Patrick Miller and Daniel Rourke join Calvert

Press Release – WASHINGTON, October 8, 2018 – Calvert Research and Management (Calvert), a subsidiary of Eaton Vance Management (Eaton Vance), announced today that Daniel Dorman, Hellen Mbugua, John Patrick Miller and Daniel Rourke have joined the firm as senior ESG research analysts, based in Washington, D.C., reporting to Jessica A. Milano, director of ESG research.

“Strong and continued business growth has enabled us to expand our research team and broaden the scope of our ESG research capabilities,” said Ms. Milano. “Our new senior ESG research analysts’ collective experience enhances our ability to identify the insightful indicators of performance, while seeking to drive positive change through Responsible Investing. This positions us to better meet the needs of a broader client base.”

Mr. Dorman joins Calvert from the U.S. Treasury Department, where he held multiple roles at the Offices of Financial Institutions and Financial Stability, including senior advisor, senior policy advisor and senior investment manager. Previously, he served as a manager and analyst at JP Morgan Chase. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Miami University Farmer School of Business in Ohio.

Ms. Mbugua comes to Calvert from IFG Development Group, where she was a vice president focused on due diligence and model construction and analysis. Prior to that, she worked as a director at Adaris Capital, a middle-market real estate private equity firm. Earlier in her career, she served as associate director at Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company and a senior associate at State Street Corporation. Ms. Mbugua holds an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a B.S. from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Mr. Miller joins Calvert from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), where he held multiple roles including branch chief, technical and policy advisor and energy industry analyst. Previously, he was lead quantitative energy analyst at IMG-Crown Energy Services JV, coal and emissions market analyst at Platts McGraw Hill Financial and EMEA equity market news analyst at TTN. He holds an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. from The George Washington University.

Mr. Rourke comes to Calvert from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he served as senior policy advisor on infrastructure finance, economic development, impact analysis and other issues. He was previously a senior advisor to the director of the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and a policy advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Prior to his government service, he worked in private equity managing real estate investments and developments for Cafritz Company, The Carlyle Group and The Archon Group, a Goldman Sachs Co. He holds an M.A. from The George Washington University and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin.

About Calvert Research and Management

Calvert Research and Management is a leader in Responsible Investing, with approximately $15 billion of mutual fund and separate account assets under management as of July 31, 2018. The company traces its roots to Calvert Investments, which in 1982 launched the first mutual fund to avoid investment in companies doing business in apartheid-era South Africa. Today, the Calvert Funds are one of the largest and most diversified families of responsibly invested mutual funds, encompassing actively and passively managed U.S. and international equity, fixed and floating-rate income, and multi-asset strategies. Calvert Research and Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance. For more information, visit calvert.com.


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