Scientists predict our oceans could become virtual deserts by 2050 if nothing is done. 85% of wild-caught fish stocks are exploited or, worse, depleted. Aqua-Spark, the first investment fund focused exclusively on sustainable aquaculture, today announced two crucial investments that could help transform the industry.
Archbishop Konrad Krajewski introduced the plan to build showers alongside public loos last year. The papal almoner was inspired by a conversation he had with a homeless man named Franco, according to a report on the Vatican Insider website.
“There is no free lunch with the social impact bond model. Make no mistake: the government always pays. Even if the project misses its targets, investors will be paid off so that they’ll pony up for next year’s bond. Otherwise, the house of cards collapses.” That may be the ultimate problem. If the emphasis is to find projects that involve minimal risk and to craft mechanisms that guarantee investors’ returns, Canada, the U.S., and the UK may be missing the boat on deploying private capital to test social programs where private capital might really do good—to front-end ideas that are not so proven as to be nearly automatic, and to provide working capital to the smaller, community-based nonprofits that might have amazing innovations in the works.
In the U.S., the current dependence of SIBs on institutional investors such as Goldman or Bank of America raises the question of who is calling the shots on this emerging instrument for social policy. If the selection of social programs warranting public support is going to be tied to the willingness of Wall Street investment houses to put in money upfront, there is no way to avoid the implication that Wall Street will be highly influential in signaling to government and nonprofits what kinds of SIB projects merit support and what kinds don’t.
We believe in social entrepreneurship – harnessing the power of the capital markets to drive game-changing ideas to scale, and in the critical importance of elevating women and girls in society via education, health care, human rights advocacy and self-employment opportunities. We also believe in activating the “other 95%” of our portfolio – moving beyond our annual grants budget to fully activate 100% of our portfolio resources in impact investments directed toward our mission.
“The six studies do not find clear evidence, or even much in the way of suggestive evidence, of reductions in poverty or substantial improvements in living standards. Nor is there robust evidence of improvements in social indicators,”.
Economist Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-founder and co-director of J-PAL, co-author of the India and Morocco studies, said, “These loans do help, but the changes are not transformative, certainly not transformative enough to justify charitable donations to the standard microcredit model.” Results from all six studies show little support for the assumption that microloans, which are often offered to women, increase women’s empowerment or investment in their children’s education.
Four window displays in the offices of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are designed to allow persons to donate by simply touching their cellphone or credit card to the window. A radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip makes this possible by communicating with the display. (Credit cards in the USA don’t typically have these RFID chips.) After the money is donated, donors then receive access to a video showing how the money will be used to fight cancer.
Impact investing is not socially responsible investing. Socially responsible investing means avoiding certain companies, like tobacco growers. Impact investors seek out companies that are intentionally designed both to make a profit and provide a measurable and accountable social good.
For the last few months, Community Solutions has been working on a new web-based tool called Homelink with which it hopes will better coordinate limited resources.The hardest part of introducing Homelink will be in persuading established interests to come on-board and do things differently. “There’s a whole lot of money going into maintaining the status quo,” .
Washington-area philanthropy is becoming unabashedly business-minded. Practices such as impact investing and public-private partnerships that were experiments after the recession are now expected to be regular giving habits for many do-gooders.