Week 23

Fund profile

For VC fund 4impact much more is at stake than money

It seems simple: tech4good ventures offer digital solutions with a net positive impact on people and the planet. But investors in these businesses face double challenges, according to the co-founder of venture capital fund 4impact.

Profile

European investors flock to CBRE’s Affordable Housing Fund

‘DJ’, the charismatic Senior Fund Manager of CBRE’s Affordable Housing Fund, tells us “the investment case for affordable housing has never been stronger.” European investors are being attracted by the security of income.

Week 22

Interview

Mainstream capital ready to deploy into social housing

The optics of sustainable and impact investing are appealing. Increasing numbers of mainstream asset managers are now offering impact investing funds in order to take advantage of the zeitgeist of ‘levelling up’ or ‘building back better’. One area standing to benefit is social housing.

Book review

Valuing Nature – A Handbook for Impact Investing

Investing in nature and biodiversity is a growing trend that is gaining a lot of attention. Especially now in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November. William Ginn’s book is required reading for investors interested in environmental conservation.

Week 21

Feature

Are we witnessing the end of waste?

The circular economy to keep the planet’s precious resources in productive use for longer is entering popular consciousness. EU policies are driving investment opportunities in getting rid of waste.

Interview

Investing as a ‘theory of change’

Jamie Butterworth, co-founding partner of Circularity Capital talks about ‘theory of change’ principles and how his company applies them to circular economy investments as a springboard for reinventing how the planet sustains itself.

Week 20

Feature

APG SDI platform to help map impact investments

It’s a question all impact investors are grappling with: how to quantify the impact of their investments. The Netherlands’ largest pension asset manager APG says it has the answer.

Profile

Future Food Fund: finding the next big agtech disruptor

A GPS cattle tracker, a harvester robot for white asparagus and a packaging-free online supermarket. These are some of the investments of the €12mn Future Food Fund (FFF), a Dutch seed capitalist that invests in innovative agricultural and food technologies.

Week 19

Week 18

Artificial intelligence

AI investing… it’s a private ‘and’ public affair

Artificial intelligence, combined with the boom in cloud computing, has huge investor potential in a wide variety of areas, from identifying and treating diseases to managing environmental impacts in industry and farming.

Artificial intelligence

AI can help impact investors

Artificial intelligence has the tools to improve how ‘impact investment’ decisions are made by factoring in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities better than ever before.

Week 17

Know-how

The ESG job market is heating up

The job market for sustainable investment roles has become so overheated that some firms are being priced out of the market for the best talent.
Impact investment funds, however, can still pick and choose. “I’ve got a plethora of candidates that really want to get into impact."

Impact measurement

'Measuring impact is now more important than ever'

Measuring impact is now more important than ever, acknowledges AFEX’s CEO Ayodeji Balogun. Over the last five years, AFEX has built a network of over 160,000 farmers and cumulatively facilitated over 200,000MT in trades, matching orders from producers and brokers with buyers on its trading platform at fair prices.

social cohesion

Cultural organisations 'uniquely placed to achieve social change'

Cultural institutions get all the more recognised for their ability to promote social cohesion and cultural diversity. If ever there’s a high urgency to invest in the arts, you could say it is now. Britain's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, Nesta, is showing how.

Week 16

Week 15

Energy transition

It’s never too late to make an impact

At the grand old age of 74, Hermann Schreier (with his wife and a couple of slightly younger Dutch friends), has thrown himself into what he hopes will become a market leader for buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Affordable housing

Investing in affordable homes to act on Europe’s housing crisis

The lack of affordable housing is a growing problem across Europe. The continent needs to invest in more decent and sustainable homes. An investment in an ‘energy-positive’ residential tower is showing one way of how this can be done.

Energy transition

Dutch National Growth Fund invests €73mn in hydrogen

A joint ‘green hydrogen’ bid by three public-private research and innovation partnerships in the Netherlands won a conditional €73mn commitment from the €20bn National Growth Fund last week.

Week 14

Sustainable Development Goals

‘Standardisation of SDGs is not a silver bullet’

The creation of a single, standardised approach to measuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) won’t absolve investors of the need to do their own due diligence, a panel of asset owners told the Phenix Virtual Impact Summit last week.

Impact measurement

‘Faking impact is getting easier’

With so many companies jumping on the impact investing bandwagon in recent years, the risk of ‘impact washing’ is growing. "Just with a good budget, you can sell an impact report to investors."

Week 13

Off-grid solar energy

Investor appetite for off-grid solar investments in Africa remains robust

Fresh investments in Africa’s pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) energy market confirms investor interest in the sector is holding up - in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite a couple of high-profile bankruptcies highlighting the challenging economics facing PAYGo companies.

Active engagement

Church of England to focus more on its social impact

The Church Commissioners for England, manager of the Church’s £8.7 billion investment fund, is pushing harder for companies to change. It will use its voting rights to promote diversity at the top of firms and to raise concerns over climate change issues in particular. “We want all of our investments to have an impact,” says Bess Joffe, the Church Commissioners’ new Head of Responsible Investments.

Certification

Four reasons why a B Corp certification adds value for investors

“B Corp is for business what Fairtrade is for coffee.” That’s according to Stefanie Kneer, head of impact management at London-based fund manager Bridges Fund Management. “For us, B Corp is probably one of the most relevant social and environmental accreditations."

Week 12

Development finance

European guarantee to boost innovation

A European guarantee instrument played a major role in Invest NL’s decision to invest €7.5 million in Protix in the form of a convertible loan. What is the so-called InnovFin SME Guarantee?

Alternative proteins

Insects are a growing market for impact investors

Thanks to their low carbon footprint, insects are becoming increasingly popular as a cheap and alternative form of protein. With the insect-farming business forecast to be worth more than $4.1 billion a year by 2025, according to researcher Arcluster, impact investors have caught the bug.

Activist investor

The Skeptic: Will a responsible investor shake up Exxon Mobil?

One of Wall Street’s leading responsible investors, Jeff Ubben, has joined the board of Exxon Mobil. This has been widely interpreted as an attempt by Exxon to see off a looming shareholder revolt at its annual meeting in May. Or is it more than 'impact washing'?