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Seven Must-Read Stories for the SOCAP Community from TriplePundit

SOCAP August 29, 2017

A SOCAP Guest Post By Megan Amrich, Associate Editor, TriplePundit and 3BL Media
As we prepare to convene in San Francisco for SOCAP17 we asked several of our media partners to share a few of their most timely and important news stories with the SOCAP community. This week’s suggested reading comes from TriplePundit.
With the rapid-fire pace of news in 2017, it is impossible to catch up with even the day’s top stories. Looking for a crash course on impact investing trends in 2017? Here are seven articles from TriplePundit to get you up to speed before SOCAP17:

1. In Madagascar, A Waterless Toilet May Provide a Global Solution

Why it’s worth the read: Sustainable toilets aren’t exactly an attractive or romantic funding proposal. However, they are a critical investment for world sanitation and water issues. Leon Kaye highlights one promising development, the Loowatt, which has already received a $1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Key passage: “‘The business opportunity of the decade,’ is how one TriplePundit contributing writer described the need for scalable and sustainable toilet technology two years ago. That opportunity may very well be alive and well in Madagascar right now.”

2. How to Move Sustainable Investing Into the Spotlight

Why it’s worth the read: Kristen Kleinman is Director of Investments for The Climate Trust. Prior to this role, she spent 25 years working in timberland investing, learning several key lessons applicable in her current role. Her article addresses many practical issues, such as managing risk, using clear and positive language, and even deciding what the label “sustainable investing” actually includes.
Key passage: “If 25 years have taught me anything, it’s that positioning is everything. We need to talk the right talk to move sustainable investments from the fringe to the forefront — where they belong.”

3. Ford Foundation Commits $1 Billion Social Enterprise Revolution

Why it’s worth the read: How does a $1 billion investment in social enterprise make the biggest possible impact? Leon Kaye reviews the the Ford Foundation’s April commitment to invest $1 billion to accelerate mission-related investing over the next 10 years. The Foundation’s initial focus will be affordable housing for Americans.
Key passage: “For the Ford Foundation to actually commit 8 to 9 percent of its actual endowment exposes it to some risk – but also demonstrates how bullish the organization is on the growth of social enterprise.
At a time when more companies are eschewing the equity markets and going private, along with stubbornly low interest rates, foundations need to find innovative investment vehicles to grow in order to maintain and expand the work they fund.”

4. A Federal Incentive for Social Entrepreneurs to Expand Their Businesses

Why it’s worth the read: People tend to think of cities – New York, Chicago, San Francisco –  as major innovation hubs. Now rural areas are joining the social entrepreneurship club thanks to government incentives at the federal and state levels. Leah B. Thibault highlights several innovative projects that have benefited from rural economic development program, including a solar farm in Massachusetts and a dairy in Vermont.
Key passage: “‘The Greenfield Solar Farm is a low-profile but highly impactful project,’ says Common Capital CEO Christopher Sikes. ‘It is hidden away at the old town dump. It’s quiet and doesn’t pollute and because the sun did indeed shine, it has produced the electricity for the town. Plus, Greenfield Community College got its worker-training-in solar-energy classes started. Sometimes the most successful projects are invisible in plain sight.’”

5. Will Equity Crowdfunding Accelerate Impact Investing in 2017?

Why it’s worth the read: Can equity crowdfunding rival venture capitalists as key players in impact investing? In 2016, the SEC approved Title III of the JOBS Act, allowing people to invest in an early-stage company in return for shares (rather than goods or services). Jamie Garuti shares the story of ClimateStore, a retailer selling sustainable home goods thanks to equity crowdfunding.
Key passage: “Already, equity crowdfunding is proving to be an effective tool to spur the economy and create jobs. It’s an open question whether this will also accelerate the efforts of social entrepreneurs seeking to connect with impact investors.”

6. Is Trump the Tipping Point for Ethical Investing?

Why it’s worth the read: There’s no tiptoeing around it: Trump’s presidency is playing a “tremendous” role in impact investing. Joshua Levin explains how technology, transparency and demographics factor into whether this administration’s impact on SRI will be positive, negative, or a bit of both.
Key passage: “Ironically, Trump’s election may go down in history as the tipping point for the mainstreaming of ethical investing. It only makes sense. Unless you live in one of a handful of swing states, your finances provide more influence than your federal ballot. And you can ‘vote’ with your money every day. Yet Nov. 8 was a wake-up call. The left felt the political door slam shut, and many are seeking new channels to drive change.”

7. JPMorgan Chase Doubles Down on Detroit Investment

Why it’s worth the read: JPMorgan Chase announced in May that they were increasing their investment in Detroit’s revitalization from $100 million to $150 million. While this is good news for the city, many critics wonder if this is another example of greenwashing. RP Siegel uses JPMorgan Chase’s investment to take a greater look at CSR initiatives and signs of rebuilding in Detroit.
Key passage: “Do big companies now put more emphasis on “doing the right thing,” because they have undergone a conversion and are now true believers? Or are they doing these things because they recognize that doing so has become a necessity for any number of reasons? Perhaps that answer is not as important as their actions.”

Megan Amrich, Associate Editor, TriplePundit and 3BL Media

TriplePundit is a global media platform covering the intersection of people, planet and profit. We believe business can be a force for good. With over 6 million unique annual page views, we cover topics ranging from global water and energy challenges to social justice and economic equality, sustainable food to corporate social responsibility, and much more! TriplePundit’s mission is to further the conversation on the Triple Bottom Line in business. TriplePundit is now part of the 3BL Media Group.

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