Tag Archives: impact investing

Making Impact Investing More Accessible for Everyone

Seedling

Photo: Emma Cooper via Flickr

Whether it’s called impact investing, socially responsible investing or sustainable investing, interest in making investments that support positive change is growing. Sustainable mutual funds represented $6.5 trillion at the beginning of 2014, an increase of 76 percent since 2012. Brian Kaminer wants to see this still-young investing space grow even more, so he’s designed a way to help investors of all types get involved.

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Investing: 2014 Was an Impactful Year

Sustainable America's 2014 Investments

We’re excited about the four investments we made in 2014, and hope that over time, these companies contribute to improving life for all of us. In keeping with our overall mission, our investments were made in companies that seek to reduce oil used in transportation, repurpose food waste and strengthen local agriculture. Here’s a rundown of these four sustainable startups poised for growth.

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Our Latest Investment: XL Hybrids

Sustainable America's XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

Our XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

XL Hybrids converts existing gas-fueled commercial vehicles like cargo vans, shuttle buses and delivery trucks into hybrids. It’s a solution that can increase an entire vehicle fleet’s fuel efficiency by 20 percent, and that’s gotten the attention of companies like FedEx and Coca-Cola. The Boston-based company has gotten our attention, too. We’re excited to announce that XL Hybrids is the latest business that Sustainable America is investing in as part of our overall goal to reduce our nation’s oil consumption by 50 percent over the next two decades.

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Why We’re Investing in Sustainable Ranching

Cold Creek Ranch

Conservation Capital Fund has a pilot project ongoing at Cold Creek Ranch to purchase land and install new ranchers.

If you’ve been keeping up with Sustainable America, you know that we believe in the power of entrepreneurs and markets to effect positive change, and that we make early-stage investments to help spur the development of sustainable food and fuel businesses. Local and sustainable agriculture is one of our focus areas, and we’ve made a small investment in the Conservation Capital Fund that we’re excited about.

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EcoScraps: Sowing Success from Wasted Food

EcoScraps organic gardening products are sold at major garden retailers throughout the country

EcoScraps organic gardening products are sold at major garden centers like Home Depot, Target, Walmart and Lowe’s.

If you’ve been keeping up with Sustainable America, you know that we’re on a mission to divert food waste from landfills and repurpose it into sustainable, value-added products like compost. We’re happy to report that we’ve closed our first compost-related investment in an exciting young company that does just that: EcoScraps. The Utah-based business collects fruit and vegetable scraps from grocery stores and wholesale produce providers and turns it into nutrient-rich, organic garden products like compost, potting mix and natural fertilizer. The EcoScraps line is sold in some of the same stores that supply the scraps, creating a tidy, full-circle process.

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Why Katherine Collins Takes Investment Advice from Honeybees

Katherine Collins, author of The Nature of Investing

Katherine Collins, author of 'The Nature of Investing' and founder of Honeybee Capital. Photo: Miranda Loud

One of the hottest topics in design and technology is biomimicry, the practice of looking to nature to inspire innovation and solve problems. Biomimicry has been the basis of everything from Velcro to faster bullet trains to brighter LED light bulbs, and now, thanks to Katherine Collins, nature’s wisdom can be applied to finance and investing.

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“Why I Quit Oil”

Photo Credit: bloomgal via Compfight cc

After 12 years of profiting from the energy and agriculture markets, I resigned my position as a hedge fund portfolio manager last year. Now, as the founder of Sustainable America, I devote a material portion of my time and net worth to helping make our nation’s food and fuel systems more resilient. Here’s why

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Waste-to-Value: The Next Big Thing?

food waste to value

Photo Credit: szczel via Compfight cc

“Waste-to-value” is a great buzzword and even better concept. It cuts right to the core of what we really need in society today – practical means of taking the waste we generate and repurposing it, profitably if possible, into things we need.

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Investing in a Sustainable Future

Sustainable America

If you’ve been following Sustainable America’s evolution over the last two years, you know that part of our philosophy is that investing in entrepreneurs and startups is an effective way to help increase the sustainability of our food and fuel systems. What you might not know is how we do it, and what some of our criteria are for making these investments.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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