Blog

Microfinance and Impact/ESG Investing in Indian Tech Startups

“The success of the microfinance model inspired us to replicate a similar approach
in healthcare and education, which are as critical to rural India as credit.”
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Srikrishna Ramamoorthy of Unitus Ventures

Image Source: Indiatimes.com

Microfinance typically aims to provide low-income or impoverished communities with access to capital. They are often in the form of small business loans with the goal of helping communities and businesses become self-sufficient. A recent Forbes article notes that the success of microfinance projects in India has resulted in larger-scale impact investments, including the funding of impact/ESG-oriented tech startups.

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The Disconnect Between Sustainable Lifestyles and Sustainable Investments

“Wealthy investors are motivated by sustainable values, yet many don’t apply them to investment decisions.”1

It has become more common for affluent investors to incorporate sustainability into their lifestyles.  These new behaviors include recycling and using natural household cleaners, making large scale environmentally friendly purchases such as solar panels and electric cars, and even choosing impactful careers.  These investors may be more likely to purchase a product from a company with a reputation as a leader in environmental sustainability, versus a slightly-cheaper version of the product from a manufacturer with no known sustainability focus.

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Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls

According to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and Sustainable Development Goal #5, providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

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Aligning CCM's Impact Themes with the SDGs

There was a lot of discussion and heightened interest in 2017 by institutional investors looking to align their investments with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations in late 2015. The broad goals are interrelated, covering a range of social and economic development issues, though each has its own targets to achieve by 2030. Objectives include targeting poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water sanitation, energy, environment, and social justice.1

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The Growing Demand for ESG Investing in North America

When it comes to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, Europe has been light years ahead of North America. The 2014 Global Sustainable Investment Review noted that 58.8% of European invested assets at the time were invested in a sustainable way, compared to 31.1% in Canada and 17.9% in the United States. In July 2017, Schroders revealed that in its Global Investor Study of Institutional Investors, 58% of pension fund investors in Europe already see ESG as in important consideration—only 21% feel that way in the U.S.

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Considering ESG/SRI Impact Themes and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.  Many of our impact themes at Community Capital Management overlap with the SDGs themes such as human empowerment, environmental sustainability, and education. While it is only by happenstance that there are 17 SDGs and that we, too, offer clients 17 thematic impact initiatives, it is no coincidence that all our themes parallel the missions of the U.N. SDGs. Below, we list in illustrations how our investors can embrace themes to contribute to a sustainable society.

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 A full list of regulatory disclosures for Community Capital Management, Inc. are available by visiting: https://www.ccminvests.com/regulatory-disclosures/.