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Expanding the Social Impact Marketplace

A growing number of investors are adding a social impact dimension to their investment strategies.  These investors consciously seek to invest in companies that share their values to address societal and environmental issues. They are seeking investment opportunities that may provide a healthy financial return and help build a sustainable society.

But as impact investing scales, and a growing number of investors enter the space, it is also changing the face of capital markets.  Metrics, infrastructure, and appropriate financial products don’t fit neatly within existing public market structures, and this is driving the need for marketplaces focused on social investments.

Forbes recently highlighted the leading social impact marketplaces, and recognized Mission Markets role as one of the leaders in building impact investing infrastructure.  Mission Markets is proud to be recognized as an early leader in providing access to social impact investments. We offer an electronic marketplace aligned with the financial infrastructure and broker expertise required to complete transactions.  

The new infusion of private capital is enabling organizations to address social challenges that once seemed insurmountable.  In doing so, it’s unleashing the creativity and technology of today’s generation to bring focus and innovation to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We look forward to enhancing our marketplace to broaden the reach of impact investing.


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Our New Online Crowdfunding Portal to Support Sustainable Organizations

Earlier this week we were excited to announce the addition of a crowdfunding platform, Mission Crowdfund, as part of our core offerings. Crowdfunding allows people to collectively pool their money via digital portals to support an organization or project. The launch of Mission Crowdfund goes a step further by also being the first platform to offer voluntary funding of environmental and wildlife habitat credits.

Mission Markets’ experience in sustainable capital markets and our portal platforms for impact and sustainable investments is further enhanced by the addition of the new donation-based crowdfunding platform. With the launch of Mission Crowdfund, organizations in the impact space are able to raise funds for projects that support their social or environmental objectives. Mission Crowdfund is exemplary of Mission Markets’ focus on fostering an entire ecosystem around financing for sustainable impact.

“Mission-driven organizations struggle to raise funding needed to address their communities’ most challenging problems. Often financing solutions are limited to sophisticated investors,” says Ken Marienau, CEO of Mission Markets. “We are pleased that our new platform, Mission Crowdfund, enables everyone to donate to projects close to their hearts.”

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What We’re Reading – A Roundup of the Latest Impact Investing News

Impact Investment News

Impact Exchange: How it Will Change Investing – IFLR

Does Impact Investing Work? Vital Capital Case Study Shows It Does – Forbes

Connecticut’s New Solar Lease Program Will Kindle Economic Opportunity – Clean Energy Finance Center

The Money and Impact Investing Directory – Connecting Money, Sustainability and Values – Green Money Journal

Community Foundation to venture into ‘impact investing’ – Business First

Forbes Interview with Impact Investor Jim Sorenson – Forbes

Sustainability News

EU Carbon Emissions Lowest Since 1990 – Renewable Energy World

4 Reasons Renewable Energy Is Ready for the President’s Climate Action Plan – World Resources Institute

Ratings and rankings: How competition promotes corporate sustainability – GreenBiz

Crowdfunding News

How crowdsourcing and open innovation could change the world – The Guardian

Equity Crowdfunding: The Driving Force Behind Job Creation – Huffington Post

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Investing for a Sustainable Future

Today President Obama announced some major initiatives aimed to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere and abate the impact of climate change. Interestingly, last Monday I attended a panel session at the Triple Bottom Line (TBLI) Conference discussing the topic of climate change and how capital can be deployed to reverse the increase in carbon emissions.

The panel was moderated by Arian van Buren, Professor Sustainability Economics and Management from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.  Richard Bookbinder from TerraVerde Capital Partners identified the core problem is population growth. In 1800, the world population stood at 1 billion and by 1927 it had doubled.  Since the growth curve is exponential, 85 years later, there are now 7 billion people in the world. Population growth combined with increasing per capita wealth levels is driving greater consumption. As a result, in an economy powered by carbon-based fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), CO2 is released into the atmosphere in ever greater amounts.

The panel included James Leaton, Research Director for Carbon Tracker , based in the United Kingdom. James laid out the scientific and the quantitative reality of climate change. Increased CO2 emissions are overwhelming the environment’s ability to absorb it, causing it to form an atmospheric blanket that traps heat. This threatens to push temperatures over 2 degrees Celsius, the acknowledged tipping point for drastic climate change.

Source: The New Economics Foundation

Source: The New Economics Foundation

Carbon Tracker, in collaboration with the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, conducted analysis to stress-test the carbon budgets. This analysis estimates that the available budget is 900 Gt of CO2 for an 80% probability to stay below 2°C and 1075 Gt of CO2 for a 50% probability by 2050. What is alarming is that in previous carbon budget estimates, the budget for 2000-2049 was 886 Gt of CO2 and we have already used half of that. Unfortunately, there are 2,860 Gt of CO2 in proven reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil under the control of companies. If these companies follow only a profit motive for their shareholders the climate balance will be tipped to unsustainable levels.

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What We’re Reading – A Roundup of the Latest Impact Investing News

Impact Investment News

How to Attract Private Investment in Clean Energy – Bloomberg

The Social Stock Exchange: Measuring Companies’ Social Impact – The Guardian

The Role of Social Impact Bonds – Local Government Chronicle

Impact Investing: Lots of Interest, but Where’s the Big Money? – Businessweek

Socially Responsible Investing Moving From Upstream to Mainstream – Huffington Post

Impact Investing: The Challenge of Job Creation – RSF Social Finance

Sustainability News

Obama to Take Sweeping Action on Climate – Washington Post

The Tie Between Brand Value and Sustainability is Getting Stronger – TriplePundit

Investor Relations Cautiously Curious About CSR – CSR Wire

Crowdfunding News

State crowdfunding & state banks will moot the JOBS Act – Venture Beat

Crowdfunding Trends: Which Crowdfunding Sites Will Survive – Forbes

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Scaling Sustainable Investments

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 8.21.02 PMI had the pleasure of attending the 2013 TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investment) conference on June 17th in New York City.  Day one of the two day conference highlighted what became a recurrent theme: financially viable sustainability projects and companies are available for investment. What is missing are the appropriate financial products for the end buyer to actually make an investment at a scale that will shift the status quo and accelerate the transition to sustainable systems.

The Opening Keynote by Paul Rose, Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society, was effective in making clear that the continued deterioration of our environmental ecosystems is accelerating to potentially catastrophic levels. The need has never been greater to solve the critical element of deploying capital to sustainable and socially conscious enterprises. He did this in excellent fashion through wit and humor, which made his slide shows of global environmental collapse from his many explorations ever more alarming.

Paul followed his presentation by moderating a roundtable assembled to address the following questions, “Do Sandy and Katrina make a lasting impression regarding ESG and Impact Investing in the USA?” and, “What sustainable new initiatives or policy changes are to occur in the (American) financial industry?”  Included on the panel were Mel Aaronson, president of National Conference on Public Employee Retirement System (NCPERS) and treasurer of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT); Carter Bales, Chairman at NewWorld Capital Group, LLC; Peter Malik, Managing Director, Corporate Engagement & Innovative Finance at The Nature Conservancy; and Hilary McMahon, Director of Research, Carbon War Room.

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IMG-20130611-00199Like many players in the New York impact investing space, Mission Markets spends a lot of time flying from JFK to SFO for major events. The SOCAP event series, the de-facto gold standard for such events since its launch way back in the late noughties, is the best – but far from only – example of social capital happenings happening on the “other” coast.

The party line is that the success of these events is what matters, which makes whining about their locale seem petty… and while I toe the party line, as someone who not just works in New York but was born here, it irks me that NYC isn’t a bigger hub (pun intended) for the wheels that keep social capital spinning.

Which is why I’m so glad that I – along with MM colleague Rebecca Orlowitz – attended Able Made’s  AMP IT UP! event at the Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC on Tuesday, June 11: it restored my faith in NYC as a bona fide center of the social capital solar system.

For starters, the attendees – from the organizers to the featured entrepreneurs to the venue staff – were all great examples of what success looks like when focusing on both social and financial bottom lines.

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