Each week, the Erb Institute shares a collection of news and updates regarding business sustainability. This month, the Erb Institute blog and social media are focusing on an emerging industry, impact investing. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations and funds with the goal of generating financial returns as well as social and environmental impact.

Sustainable Business News – 3/17/2018 – 3/23/2018

Impact Investing

Looking beyond this week’s slush to find social impact inspiration


“On Tuesday night a brave group of social entrepreneurs sought refuge from the elements in Patagonia’s Greene Street store to celebrate the publication of ‘Just Good Business: An Investor’s Guide to B Corps“.   Patagonia ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ Vincent Stanley, Caprock’s Matthew Weatherly-White and B Lab’s Amanda Kizer spoke on the intersection of impact investing and the ten-year growth of the B Corp movement.

Twenty-four hours later with the snow coming down even harder, a standing room only crowd converged on a pizza and wine reception in the Gold LEED-certified Heart Tower to mark the publication by Wiley of the book ‘WEconomy‘.”

Philanthrocapitalism and the future of giving


“‘Wealth is not new. Neither is charity. But the idea of using private wealth imaginatively, constructively and systematically to attack the fundamental problems of mankind is new.’ So said John Gardner, the former president of the Carnegie Corporation, and he’s right: philanthropy has a long history. In Ancient Greece, the word philanthropia meant only “love for mankind” and over time, that meaning has evolved. The essential connotations, however, have remained the same: humanity has always relied on the kindness of strangers.”

How Starbucks achieved 100% equal pay in the United States


“Starbucks’s decision to include transparent pay discussions signals a larger shift in how major corporations in the United States can approach equal pay. ‘Pay equity is no longer a defensive conversation, but a badge of honor that companies see as critical to attracting and retaining top talent,’ said Natasha Lamb, managing partner of Arjuna Capital, an investment firm focused on sustainable and impact investing. Lamb has worked with the shareholders of dozens of corporations to close the wage gap, including most recently JP Morgan Chase and American Express. In fact, seven of the biggest financial companies in the world have announced proactive steps to wipe out gender pay inequity in response to shareholder proposals from Arjuna Capital that include detailed wage data reports.”

What impact investors can learn from activists


“Impact investment is a relatively new phenomenon – the trillion-dollar trend most people have never heard of.

In 2016 , $119 billion was invested in projects seeking both a social and financial return, such as clean energy and worker owned cooperatives, according to the Global Impact Investing Network, an organisation that seeks to publicise and offer advice on impact investing.”

Young Asians pursue impact investing that makes profit at home

Financial Times

“Just 13 percent of the $114bn funding tracked by the Global Impact Investing Network in 2016 found its way to Asia, according to GIIN’s latest annual investor survey, which, although not exhaustive, offers the most comprehensive data available.

GIIN’s figures actually overstate Asians’ involvement in impact investing, a sector which covers everything from projects to alleviate poverty to job creation in marginalized areas, offering financial services to the unbanked and tackling environmental problems.”

The value of B Corps: What investors need to know

Yale Center for Business and the Environment

“Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of the world’s largest investment firm, recently noted that long-term corporate prosperity requires not just financial performance, but “a positive contribution to society.” He does not stand alone with this opinion – nearly every major Silicon Valley venture capital firm backs companies that pursue sustainable practices.

In short, there is a profound shift underway in how capital markets value companies. So if you’re an investor, what do you need to know?”

How to invest with a conscience (and still make money)

New York Times

“Jean Case, the chief executive of the Case Foundation, is a leader in impact investing, a movement that aims to force social change by minimizing or eliminating investors’ exposure to companies that harm the world and achieve a solid return.

Yet Ms. Case, an early signer of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by high-net-worth individuals to give at least half of their net worth to charity, said she struggled to fill just one of her portfolios with diversified impact investments.”

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