While Boulder, Colorado-based Rally Software broke the barrier as the first B Corp to go public in April 2013, last week, the much larger Etsy took the baton in an IPO valuing the company at $3.38 billion. It may only be the second B Corp IPO, but if you take a closer look, some of the hottest IPOs in recent years have been openly purpose-driven companies.
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Etsy’s IPO took Wall Street by storm last week. The conversation was peppered with questions about whether or not a company that claims to be “a mindful, transparent and humane business” could succeed on Wall Street, a space where these adjectives are rarely used. Yet, this is not the question I’ll ask today. Instead, I’ll focus on is whether or not Etsy, the person-to-person online marketplace for all things handmade, is still part of the sharing economy.
California’s carbon offset program just saw another first: The Climate Trust has received the first California carbon offsets from an ‘Avoided Forest Conversion’ project. The Green Assets-Middleton Place project conserves more than 3,700 acres of pristine southern coastal habitat near Charleston, South Carolina, and prevents it from being converted to non-forest land uses.
SPECIAL SERIES: Women in Leadership
In the past 15 years, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 54 percent. There are now 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Together they employ more people than McDonald’s, IBM and Wal-Mart combined, and their revenue of $1.3 trillion exceeds the market capitalization of Apple, Microsoft, GE, Google and Sony. What is behind this trend? How have women managed to achieve this in business, which has traditionally been a man’s world? Is this something that women are inherently better at, or is it simply part of a larger trend?
Despite the powerful business case for women’s advancement, gender inequality stubbornly persists. Today only 12 percent of board seats and 11 percent of senior management positions globally are held by women. Joseph F. Keefe, president and CEO of Pax World Funds, and Sallie L. Krawcheck, chair of Pax Ellevate Management, explain why gender diversity should really matter to investors.
Definitions — we are so over them in the social investing sector. Yet once in a while a new definition comes along, and we really need to pay attention. That’s the case with the definition for social investing proposed by a new report, After the Gold Rush, from the Alternative Commission on Social Investment (ACSI). This report highlights telling developments in the practice of social investing and yields a new, clarifying meaning for the term.
So long as banks are solely focused on short-term interests and are rooted in maximizing profit, there is no intrinsic motivation for change. But there is a lesser-known model of banking that is based around a different premise: values-based banking. It takes a long-tail view of banking and finance, and includes all stakeholders.
Investor confidence in the solar energy sector continues to grow. Highlighting a strong quarterly rebound in corporate solar sector finance in Q1’15, residential and commercial solar funds raised a record-high of nearly $2 billion during this year’s first quarter, according to Mercom Capital’s latest quarterly report.
Tax filing is a headache, and that’s why some 80 million Americans invest in professional tax preparation. But it doesn’t have to be that way, points out the nonpartisan organization Maplight. The research group did some digging and found that there are big names and big money standing in the way of a bill to simplify the tax filing system. The pockets are deep: to the tune of $35 million. And several top politicians own stock in the companies most fiercely opposed to tax filing reform.
The feminist in me struggles with the topic of “women in investing.” The suggestion of a special category implies a difference, and a difference, when it comes to women, tends to mean a weakness. Women and the sciences, women and sports, the debates about women’s powers make me, as a woman, uncomfortable. But then I review my own story. I manage assets for people who are interested in socially responsible investing, and over 60 percent of the money I manage belongs to women.
California is America’s climate policy leader, home to both the country’s biggest clean energy industry and an internationally-linked carbon market being modeled across the world. But to build on this momentum, it must go even further. A recent proposal to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 will support the push for international commitments leading up to this year’s COP21 climate conference in Paris. It will also empower California to keep leading America’s clean energy transition.
Women are the largest emerging market in the world – twice as big as India and China combined – with over $5 trillion in growth since 2009. As a result, women are poised to have a massive impact on the investment and financial services spheres in the coming decades. And as such, conversations have moved away from stark gender comparisons toward discussions that focus on how the investing world must adapt and embrace women in their own right.
How are sustainable business practices initiated and valuated? Though materiality assessments continue to advance in sophistication, in order to initiate sustainable or inclusive business projects, managers must still demonstrate the business case, usually in the form of Profit = Revenue – Cost.
Some foundations have been criticized for investing in corrections facilities, but it is not always easy to know what is hidden in large opaque investment vehicles. In fact, anyone with broad passive exposure to the U.S. equity market through his or her pension or 401(k) plan is likely to have ownership of America’s largest private prison companies.
Are you ready to bare it all? In a major shift in attitudes toward sustainability and the role of business in society, environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure is now a major focus for investors and businesses alike. Businesses who know how to monitor and report ESG results — and investors who know how to interpret them — will come first in global a race for greater transparency.