BLOGS: Womble Carlyle Has Impact

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 4:24 PM

DanoneWave: Public Benefit Corporation Promotes Positive Change

Posted by: Bruce Buchanan

Danone created a giant in the organic and natural foods industry with its recent $10.4 billion acquisition of WhiteWave Foods. The new DanoneWave unit is now one of the nation’s top 15 food and beverage companies.

But the acquisition that created DanoneWave also formed the largest “public benefit corporation” seen to date in the U.S., according to Fortune.

By its charter, a public benefit corporation seeks more than just profit and must balance the needs of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. DanoneWave says its mission includes promoting healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, water conservation, waste reduction and animal welfare, in addition to earning profits.

DanonWave CEO Lorna Davis tells Fortune, “In 10 years time, people will say its inconceivable that business was done any other way,” says Davis. “The notion that a company can only care about profit will be seen as old-fashioned and irresponsible.”

Monday, April 10, 2017, 3:03 PM

Kentucky Coal Mining Museum Makes the Switch to Solar

Posted by: Bruce Buchanan

File this under “Man Bites Dog”: the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum announced this week that it is switching to solar energy.

WYMT has the story. The museum, which is located in Benham, Ky. in the heart of Coal Country and owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, is making the switch to save money.

Museum officials estimate the 20 solar panels will save the museum $8-10,000 annually on energy costs. That money will go back to the college to help in its mission of educating students.


Friday, March 31, 2017, 3:19 PM

New Report: Sustainable Investments Grow by 25 percent Worldwide from 2014-16

Posted by: Bruce Buchanan

Globally, sustainable investment assets have increased in value by 25 percent since 2014.

According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance’s Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016, “there are now $22.89 trillion of assets being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies.”

The sustainable investment market has grown fastest in Japan during this two-year span, with Australia/New Zealand and Canada also showing particularly rapid growth.

Europe experienced 12 percent growth from 2014-16 and has a total globally sustainable asset base of $12.04 trillion. In the U.S., Impact Economy investing is up 33 percent in the time span to $8.72 trillion. Canada experienced a 49 percent increase to $1.09 billion.

The report defines sustainable investing as “an investment approach that considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in portfolio selection and management…. Sustainable investment encompasses the following activities and strategies:

  • Negative/exclusionary screening
  • Positive/best-in-class screening
  • Norms-based screening
  • Integration of ESG factors
  • Sustainability themed investing
  • Impact/community investing and
  • Corporate engagement and shareholder action.”

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Friday, March 10, 2017, 11:14 AM

New Project by Jacki Zehner Collects 400 Research Reports on Issues Impacting Women & Girls

Posted by: Bruce Buchanan

With the world recognizing International Women’s Day earlier this week, investor/philanthropist Jacki Zehner has complied a comprehensive study on research into gender equity and women’s inclusion, empowerment and leadership.

In the study, titled “Top Reports on Women and Girls: Supporting Gender Lens Giving and Investing,” Zehner aggregates 400 reports across 18 different categories, all of which show work being done on behalf of women and girls.

This report provides a wealth of information for impact economy investors looking to improve the lives of women and girls. As Zehner says, when she was a Goldman Sachs trader, she “relied heavily on research to inform my investment decisions.” This project can guide future giving and investing in ways that have maximum benefit.
Click here to read “Top Reports on Women and Girls: Supporting Gender Lens Giving and Investing.”

Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 3:00 PM

Ikea Wins Design Award For Refugee Shelter

Posted by: J. Brian Ewing
It's understood that one of the keys to retail giant Ikea's success is how efficient it is at packaging. Massive pieces of furniture fit into the smallest boxes possible, making them easy to transport from manufacturer to store to home. 

Ikea won recognition this week for putting that same thinking toward the plight of refugees. The Design Museum of London awarded Ikea its Beazley Design of the Year for a flat-pack shelter created to provide refugees with safe, easily transportable housing. Ikea developed the shelter in collaboration with the United Nations. This CNN article has the full story.   

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Thursday, June 23, 2016, 1:56 PM

Barron's: Private Banks Massively Increase Impact Fund Offerings

Posted by: Bruce Buchanan
A new article in Barron's confirms what many of us working in the Impact Economy already knew - Impact Investing is growing at a rapid pace.

According to the article, global impact investing has increased by 26 percent since 2012, to a total of $109 billion. And that number is expected to hit $650 billion by 2020.

Perhaps just as importantly, the size and quality of impact funds are growing, too. Jackie VanderBrug, Co-Chair of U.S. Trust’s Impact Investing Council (and the keynote speaker at the recent inaugural Womble Carlyle Impact Speaker Series event), said that in 2014, 11 impact funds passed U.S. Trust's rigorous examination process. But 29 impact funds passed in 2015.

Click here to read "Private Banks Massively Increase Impact Fund Offerings" at Barron's.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 1:46 PM

Impact in an Instant: How Ramen Noodle Creator Momofuku Ando Fed Post-War Japan, Created Business Empire

Posted by: Bruce Buchanan

Most of us associate ramen noodles with college dorm food or a cheap, filling meal when we were young, single and broke.
But the inventor of ramen noodles—Japanese entrepreneur Momofuku Ando—had a far loftier goal in mind. World War II devastated Japan and despite food rations sent by the United States, many residents of Japan’s cities suffered from food storages.  Ando sought to create something inexpensive and easy to store that could feed his country’s hungry masses.
He stumbled across the secret of ramen—flash-frying the noodles in hot oil—by accident. But his discovery led to a culinary revolution, and the creation of a company that has sold up to 40 billion units of ramen annually.
Click here to watch a short video on “How Instant Ramen Became an Overnight Success” from Great Big Story.
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