Impact Investing Through The Lens Of The Top Impact Fund Manager

Joel Solomon is a Founding Partner of Renewal Funds, Canada's largest mission venture capital firm, at $240 million assets under management. Investing in climate tech and organic foods in Canada and the USA, Renewal Funds is GIIRS-rated, a founding Canadian B Corp (5x “Best for the World”), a “1% for the Planet” member, recognized as ImpactAssets “Top 50 impact fund managers.” Joel is also a frequent public speaker, board member of the University of British Columbia, co-producer of the Integrated Capital Institute with RSF Social Finance, and co-author of The Clean Money Revolution: Re-Inventing Power, Purpose & Capitalism.

Joel answered a couple of questions for 0100 Conferences about impact investing. It's a pleasure to share his insights on such an important topic.

How would you define the landscape and taxonomy of impact investing? 

Our Investing represents our values, beliefs, and dreams for the future of humanity and our relationship to all of creation, around what we care most deeply about for the long term future of civilization and future generations. We are responsible in the profound experience of life on the planet and how humanity can fulfil a destiny as an intelligent and beautiful process of intentional evolution. We must contribute to a safe, fair, and prosperous long term evolution as a part of the ecosystems which nourish intelligent life on this planet. 

What are the key lessons that you learnt about impact investing during your career, and about your financing partners and advisors. 

The field is still truly early stage. The principles are deep and crucial to a good future for all. Money should be used for the betterment for humans, ecology, culture, and the many positive and necessary advance of a better future for all. There is vast creativity waiting to blossom. We need political, policy, and purpose dimensions only barely yet explored. Much is possible. 

The field deserves every deepening understanding of the generations of exploitation, damage, and harm done for the love of money, far beyond “need”, or fair shares. 

Most humans long for “more”. Many need more. Few own the vast majority of money. 

Serious commitment and work is needed on taxation, worker safety, protection of the commons, and redistributive and reparational policies for more effective counter to oligarchical accumulation by the few. 

“Impact investing” is a step in the right direction, but needs dramatic advances, that should look at public policy, personal ethics, and commitment to a just future.

What do you see as critical challenges and opportunities currently facing impact & sustainability investments? What are the trends influencing pipeline and perception?

 It’s early stage still. Significant progress remains ahead and to be invented and expanded. 

How do the UN SDGs and other guidelines inform metrics, how can be metrics improved, and what is the potential for a future standardized measurement system?

The UN standards are a basic tool for awareness and education but the real work must come from personal, political, and policy commitments that better regulate taxation, legalities, and how the economy is designed.

Why did you decide to have a keynote at 0100 virtual DACH? Would you recommend 0100 Conferences? If so, why?

I agreed to a keynote because of the opportunity to speak to and influence further awakening of those fortunate enough to have choice, and power, about how the economy and public policy, along with private moral and political commitment to a more just future, might be helped to advance, in a world dramatically in need of determined reform and re-alignment. 

DACH is an influential and powerful participant base. I welcome opportunities to share thoughts and views that may awaken more action, deeper commitments, and help sustain a better future.

Want more insights on impact investing?

Check Joels's fireside chat at 0100 Virtual DACH or join impact investing panel discussion at our upcoming conference 0100 Virtual Europe (02-04 November 2021).

Image source: Pexels - Singkham, Unsplash - Riccardo Annandale

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