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Inclusive Business and Impact Investing
The first and highest rated scoop.it blog on sustainable and inclusive business and impact investing. The curations are mine.
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You Can See Poor From Space

You Can See Poor From Space | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

An article brought up at Kensington Renewal poses an interesting thesis: poor neighborhoods are scant of trees, while rich ones are flush with vegetation. It's not common just in select areas, but in cities all across the globe.  A trend that popped up in the early 2000′s and has caught on nationwide is light-colored roofing which has the most obvious monetary benefit: it significantly lowers the need to cool a building, thereby lowering the amount of electricity required to run A/C systems and lowering of utility bills.

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Impact Investment Catalyzes What? Why?

Impact Investment Catalyzes What? Why? | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Let’s imagine that one of our desired “Impact Outcomes” is to reduce poverty. How can we reduce poverty? When we look at impact investment (#ImpInv) models, are we financing things that sustainably improve quality of life or aiming for windfall profits with a bit of doing good on the side?

First I’d ask that you accept that the “poorest of the poor” at the very base of the pyramid (#BOP) are not an appropriate target for market-based interventions. This may change in the future, but I think there is a “basic needs” challenge here that can best be served through public-private partnerships and philanthropy. So we’re aiming for the “near BOP” and possibly the #MOP (middle of the pyramid) – basically the working poor and lower income populations that are in some way part of the market economy but not enjoying a very good quality of life. How can we help these people help themselves? Access to affordable health care, housing, education are key pieces to the puzzle, but the linchpin is having a stable source of income.

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Technology and Microfinance: Cost issues, solutions and challenges

Microfinance Focus, June 29, 2012: The second day of Hanson Wade Microfinance Technology conference in Kuala Lumpur (June 25-27, 2012)started with my introductory focus on the impact of technology on costs.  Loans of small sizes have high fixed transaction costs which make lending to poor people difficult. With Microfinance, these fixed costs have come down owing to group lending and other mechanisms and the average revenue of the poor has shifted out owing to co-production and technical advisory capacity building work. Nevertheless, costs remain high, reflecting the high interest rates of 26% to 28% found by CGAP. My calculation of the average interest rates charged by MFIs work out higher, based on MiX data for 2012 to 28% to 34% (median and mean respectively). Paul Luchtenburg of IFC pointed out that the discrepancy is because CGAP weighted it by number of borrowers and with a lot of borrowers in South Asia with low interest rates, CGAP interest rates averages are lower. Of course, there are more MFIs in South Asia too and my calculation therefore finds what an average MFI charges, while CGAP calculation finds what the average borrower is charged.
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Planting the SEED « Acumen Fund Blog

Planting the SEED « Acumen Fund Blog | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

As the impact investing landscape grows, we continue to hear the common complaint from social investors that there is a weak pipeline of social entrepreneurs. But with new, cash-starved social enterprises appearing across the world every day, why is it so hard for impact investors to find enterprises that that attract their excitement and their investments?

One, social enterprises face a number of extreme challenges that are difficult to surmount in the first few years, at the center of which is the challenge of creating viable, scalable business models around their social innovations (assuming that their innovations are appropriate for the market). After launching a social enterprise, entrepreneurs often spend months – even years – experimenting with various business models until they strike upon the one that will be robust and allow the enterprise to grow (or, until they give up.)

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Measuring the impact of shared value

Measuring the impact of shared value | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Are companies maximising shared value opportunities? Are they getting the best return on shared value investments? How do they know?

Easy answers to these questions don't currently exist. Companies need guidance on measuring shared value – a management approach that validates and quantifies shared value strategies and unlocks further value creation.

In late May at the FSG-hosted Shared Value Leadership Summit, we presented the preliminary research findings from the Measuring Shared Value white paper, which will be released in September. Our presentation and the ensuing dialogue signalled great thirst for more guidance on this topic.

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For Ambitious Nonprofits, Capital to Grow

For Ambitious Nonprofits, Capital to Grow | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Imagine that you’re an entrepreneur running a chain of coffee bars and you want to raise capital to open up in new locations. You meet a potential investor, and he says, “I’d love to finance your business, but only the chai latte operation, not the coffee, and only to support drinks you sell in Cleveland next year.”

It might sound absurd, but this is the kind of thing that people running nonprofit organizations hear all the time. Whether they are providing housing or preschool or vocational training services, social organizations typically find their funding restricted to specific programs, locations and time frames. That doesn’t make it easy to grow.

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Domtar unveils 2020 sustainabilty indicator framework

MONTREAL, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) today released its 2011 Sustainable Growth Report, unveiling 35 key performance indicators that will shape the company's sustainability efforts out to 2020. This sustainability framework builds on years of industry leadership in forestry certification, mill-level environmental performance and longstanding ENGO collaborations.

This year also marks the first time Domtar is issuing a level-checked "B" Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report, as well as the first time that outside perspective from sustainability experts in the private sector and civil society is being featured.

"The release of a key performance indicator framework is an important milestone in our long-term sustainability strategy," noted John D. Williams, DomtarPresident and Chief Executive Officer.  "By addressing sustainability in a systematic way we are making this company more resilient, better able to seize opportunities for innovation and growth, as well as more open to constructive input from our shareholders, customers, suppliers, and environmental partners.  All of this supports our evolution from papermaker to fiber innovator that positions us for success over the long term."

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Financial illiteracy hinders Asia's m-payments uptake

Financial illiteracy hinders Asia's m-payments uptake | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

According to the Joyful Frog Digital Incubator Asia (JFDI.Asia) CEO Hugh Mason, poor financial literacy is one of the main challenges faced by mobile payments proponents in Asia. This is particularly so among the region's emerging markets, he said.

"Financial literacy is a huge challenge and that feeds into the regulation question," Mason said. "When I first started my apprenticeship in 1986, I was paid in cash each week in a brown envelope.  By 1990, it was mandatory to have a bank account, and suddenly people went from a situation where they had a teapot with money in it... to a situation where they had to deal with abstract numbers on a bank account, being offered credit cards and running up huge bills."

He added that people's financial illiteracy meant that regulators are very loathe to allow new payments vendors into the marketplace. It might be a sophisticated corporate market in the developed world, but in Asia, the opportunities for people to get scammed and ripped off "are just vast", the CEO said.

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Rio+20: Business Models for Small-Scale Farmers and Solutions for Big Cities among the Innovations Put Forward at Private Sector Track to Rio+20 - Articles on CSR NEWS

Rio+20: Business Models for Small-Scale Farmers and Solutions for Big Cities among the Innovations Put Forward at Private Sector Track to Rio+20 - Articles on CSR NEWS | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

 New ways to bring energy, light and water to the world´s rapidly expanding cities, and possibilities for small-scale farmers to emerge from poverty and feed the world´s growing population, emerged from the third day of the private sector track to the Rio + 20 summit.

By 2050, 75 per cent of the world population will live in urban areas, creating huge infrastructure and sustainability challenges. One of them is that a smaller part of the population will need to grow food for the rest, in a fashion that supports the environment and can cope with anticipated effects of climate change.

Organized by the UN Global Compact, the 15-18 June Corporate Sustainability Forum brings together close to 3,000 participants from the private sector, as well as educators, environmentalists and grassroots leaders. Results from the Forum will be reported to the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), also taking place in Rio de Janeiro.

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A BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

A BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

There are many business cases for sustainability... but they have to be created," says internationally renowned sustainability specialist Stefan Schaltegger. "I don't know any company that wouldn't have the potential to create at least one business case for sustainability. [And] accountants can and should play a role."

In this interview, CPA policy advisor Amir Ghandar speaks with Professor Schaltegger, who is head of the Centre for Sustainability Management at Leuphana University in Germany. Professor Schaltegger, an International Visitor at Macquarie University's IGAP Research Centre, addresses the question of how sustainability can be embraced while creating economic value and looks at business cases that work as well as those that don't.

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Portfolio for the Planet: Lessons from 10 Years of Impact Investing (Paperback) - Routledge

Portfolio for the Planet: Lessons from 10 Years of Impact Investing (Paperback) - Routledge | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Rapid growth of the global economy has accelerated the degradation of the Earth’s most important asset: the environment. Increasing poverty and challenges arising from climate change further threaten the planet’s natural systems. With a rising global population, the demand on natural resources to cover even basic human needs is intensifying – supporting businesses that promote the sustainable use of natural resources and help ensure their long-term viability is imperative. As part of a pioneering movement to harness business towards effecting environmental change, The Nature Conservancy launched EcoEnterprises Fund in 2000 to provide investment capital to grow small "eco"-businesses in Latin America. There is a compelling need for financing this niche. Companies of this size truly drive change – creating the engine for economic activity and generating livelihoods for bottom of the pyramid rural peoples which brings about positive social and conservation impacts.

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From supply chains to supply circles | McKinsey & Company

Manufacturers can create value, cut costs, and reduce exposure to volatile commodity prices by improving their resource productivity—using fewer resources for each unit of output. Leaders are looking for opportunities beyond their own operations. Collaboration with suppliers and customers can keep used products, components, and materials in circulation. New business models that rethink ownership can shift value along the supply circle.
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Kim Says World Bank’s First Priority Is to Aid Growth

Kim Says World Bank’s First Priority Is to Aid Growth | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Jim Yong Kim, who took over as World Bank president yesterday, said his first task will be to help emerging markets keep expanding at a time of stress for the world economy. “We begin our work together at a crucial moment” as the global economy “remains vulnerable,” Kim wrote in an e-mail to the Washington-based bank’s staff obtained by Bloomberg News. “My immediate priority will be to intensify the Bank Group’s efforts to help developing countriesprotect growth and jobs.”

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Tamzin Ractliffe - New economics for impact investing | the new economics foundation

Tamzin Ractliffe - New economics for impact investing | the new economics foundation | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

It is now some ten years since impact investment first gained traction. By 2009, it was regarded (though still debated) as an emerging asset class; now, in 2012, Wall Street is actively involved in its pursuit. The speed and global growth of impact investment initiatives testify to what is possible when one changes the paradigm.

Benoit Passot’s analysis in this new nef consulting report is timely, detailing the economics underpinning impact investment decisions by evaluating the two extremes of profit-only business versus impact-only charity. But it is only by evaluating the limits that we start understanding the beauty and efficiency of impact investment, and how, instead of forcing a trade-off between financial and social return, a blended return is attainable.

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Moving Forward in Global Affordable Housing Post Rio+20 : Habitation For The Planet

Moving Forward in Global Affordable Housing Post Rio+20 : Habitation For The Planet | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Amongst the various high-level meetings at the recent Rio+20 Summit, the underlying hope of delegates being able to temporarily steer themselves away from the ongoing global economic turbulence whilst achieving cohesive progress was largely deemed as a non-existent.  The empty feeling left by the end of the event was indeed well reflected by some notable quotes such as CARE International labelling it as a “black hole of low ambition and little substance”; Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International stating it was a “a failure of epic proportions” and another collective NGO response pointed out that world leaders engaged themselves in a “new definition of hypocrisy.”

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Sponsored Feature: Dragon Capital’s 18 years in Indochina | Campden FB

Imagine starting a financial institution six years before any kind of stock or capital markets existed. Imagine considering starting that company in a country where the GDP per capita was $227 (€173) and there was no infrastructure for foreign investment, no democratic elections and no banking system, let alone corporate governance or international accounting standards. Imagine then, having the foresight to view this daunting task as a rare opportunity in an Asian frontier market in 1994.

That’s when the founding partners of the Dragon Capital Group pooled pioneering investors to launch a Vietnam access fund - Vietnam Enterprise Investments Limited (“VEIL”). This closed-end country fund was mandated to seek and invest in what would prove to be the country’s leading enterprises. Today, VEIL is Dragon’s largest fund and is widely recognised as the oldest listed Vietnam focused fund. Many of the original group from that 1996 launch remain invested today and have been reaping the benefits over the life of the fund.

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CSR in the Early Days of Capitalism

CSR in the Early Days of Capitalism | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

If you think that CSR, not to mention its newest form – shared value, is a relatively a new phenomenon, think again. As Nancy Koehn, Harvard Business School professor and historian, explains in an interesting HBR video, we can find examples of corporate responsibility, especially with regards to companies’ social footprint, as early as the foundation era of capitalism.

Back then, industrialists like Josian Wedgwood and later HenryHeinz “thought that the kind of business they had and its role in society were much interconnected, and so what was doing well by society was very good for their business,” Koehn explains.

It might sound somewhat surprising to those who are used to think of this era mostly in terms of labor exploitation, sweatshops and low quality of life in general for the working class. But apparently this era provided not just examples of poor social practices, but also of ones that could get high CSR scores today. So does it mean we should actually look more at the past when we think about the future of CSR? Are there any valuable lessons to be learnt from the early days of capitalism?

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Why People Want To Be Micro-Entrepreneurs

Why People Want To Be Micro-Entrepreneurs | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

The micro-entrepreneurship economy--an economy that allows people to make money off their skills and assets--is rapidly growing, led by an army of freelancers and fully employed workers who want to make extra cash on the side.  

What’s so appealing about delivering groceries for $20 on Taskrabbit, selling a sailboat tour for $120 onVayable, or dancing in a hot dog costume for $5 on Fiverr? It’s the money, sure, but that’s not all. Fiverr, a site that bills itself as "the world’s largest marketplace for small services," recently conducted a random survey of 1,100 of its sellers to find out what inspires them. The results:

86% of respondents are looking for job independence. 80% are frustrated with the 9 to 5 grind. The top six frustrations: lack of freedom, not making enough cash, working regular business hours, reporting to a manager, commuting, and boredom....
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Shared value: the next step in the evolution of branding

Darwin's Theory of Evolution says that for a species to survive, it must develop advantageous traits specific to its environment. "In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism's genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival, a process known as natural selection." Today, this theory is very appropriate to how brand managers view their brand in the context of the brand universe. The sheer number of products has resulted in an overpopulated marketplace - so much so that in a single store - consumers can, for example, be faced with up to 175 different salad dressings. With such a saturated marketplace, only a handful of brands will thrive. So, what 'advantageous traits' should a brand manager seek to cultivate within the brand's 'genetic code' in order to ensure its survival? 

The short answer is that the ability of a brand to fulfil the deepening needs of the consumer - in the context of their broader world - will result in a process of 'natural selection', determining whether a brand thrives or ceases to compete. But surpassing consumers' needs is no easy feat as they are constantly evolving and increasing. Given the quantity of brands out there, we can all assume that what was once the staple of marketing theory, i.e. price, placement, etc is now only a basic requirement to be in the game. 
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What will it take for India’s affordable housing market to grow?

What will it take for India’s affordable housing market to grow? | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Buying a home is different from almost any other purchase. For starters, it’s usually the single largest financial decision a family makes. Moreover, home ownership isn’t about four walls and a roof. It’s about lifestyle. Purchasing a home represents a decision to live in (or leave) a particular community, a choice to improve economic opportunities, a safer environment to raise a family, a better educational opportunity for your children.

These considerations hold just as true for low-income buyers in India’s cities as for anyone else. And unless the housing finance companies, developers and builders serving these buyers take the time to understand their customers, our nation's nascent – and desperately needed – affordable housing market will fail to take off.

From our perspective (gleaned through several years’ experience working with Janaadhar, Micro Housing Finance Corporation and Saath Charitable Trust, all early entrants in India’s affordable urban housing sector), success depends equally on addressing customer needs and adhering to customer protections.

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China Invests Big In Fellow BRIC Brazil

China Invests Big In Fellow BRIC Brazil | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

BEIJING - China made its largest investment of early 2012 in fellow BRIC Brazil by acquiring 30% of Petrogal Brasil, a subsidiary of Portuguese company Galp Energia. State-owned Sinopec, or Chinese Petrochemical Company, paid $4.8 billion for the aquisition. Overall, China invested $21.4 billion abroad from January to March, a 118% increase from the same period last year. 

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said earlier this month that bilateral trade with Brazil will break the $100 billion barrier this year. He met Brazilian Chamber of Deputies president Marco Maia, who is leading a comittee to China. China is the largest Brazilian business partner since 2009.

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Corporate Eco Forum | C.K. Prahalad Award

Corporate Eco Forum | C.K. Prahalad Award | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it
The C.K. Prahalad Global Sustainability Leadership Award was created by the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) to recognize exceptional individuals and companies–within or outside the CEF membership–whose work exemplifies the fundamental connection between...
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Scandinavians create Destination Sustainability Index

Scandinavians create Destination Sustainability Index | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

candinavian cities are taking pioneer steps to advance their leadership in sustainable meetings but there is potential to improve and drive performance. This was the conclusion of the unique study commissioned by ICCA Scandinavian Chapter, and conducted by MCI Sustainability Services.

The Index which can be downloaded here, uses 16 performance indicators to measure and benchmark the sustainability commitment and performance of the city government and the destination infrastructure (recycling, renewable energy etc), and the sustainability commitment and performance of the local meetings industry. 

Erika Eischer, Head of Congress Department, Tampere Hall and Chair of the ICCA Scandinavian Chapter comments: 

“Our clients are concerned about the ethical, social and environmental performance of their suppliers.  We need to make it easier for our clients to organize a sustainable meeting in our destinations. The Index helps us to transparently communicate our performance and progress.”

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Shareholder pressure builds momentum for CEO pay to be linked to performance, sustainability measures | The Natural Investments Blog

Shareholder pressure builds momentum for CEO pay to be linked to performance, sustainability measures | The Natural Investments Blog | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

The most publicized 2012 say on pay vote occurred in April at Citigroup’s annual meeting, where 55 percent of shareholders rejected management’s proposed executive compensation package. Citi’s compensation committee now will assess the CEO not on profitability, but on measures such as talent management, organizational culture and risk management. It’s a marked departure from the longstanding tradition of evaluating management on financial performance alone.

Many sustainable investors believe that linking executive compensation to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) performance is an appropriate incentive model that supports long-term shareholder value while benefiting society and the environment. 

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