An ecosystem to fast track Social and Impact Investment
GO LEARN, GO NETWORK, GO INVEST
An ecosystem to fast track
Social and Impact Investment
Bridging the great divide between the talk and action, accelerating the Sustainable Development agenda from intention to implementation – GoImpact means Impact made easy and actionable.
We are an ecosystem developed to connect the dots and provide action enablers built around 3 key pillars – GoLearn (education); GoNetwork (structured advocacy); GoInvest (deal flow platform for sustainable investments). Through our partners network with online-to-offline initiatives, we connect investors with deals relevant to their interests and provide learning opportunities to drive real change by example for everyone who is keen to understand more about the Sustainable Finance agenda.
Singapore-based fund management platform Gordian Capital is launching an environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund with GoImpact, an ecosystem dedicated to sustainable investments. Gordian Capital manages $3.3 billion in private equity, venture capital, real estate, private credit and hedge funds across 60 funds since 2005. According to a statement, the fund aims to launch in Q1 2020. Most of its investors are Asian family offices, and they aim to accumulate about $100 million of assets under management. The fund is understood to be targeting net positive ESG corporates that deliver good returns based on a “tested and proven ESG framework”. The fund added that it also looks to the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) for its ESG standards – grouping its 17 sustainable development goals into five areas of focus: climate, education, health, inclusion and biodiversity. The fund is led by Helene Li, Clarence T’ao and Andy Ann, former entrepreneurs, bankers from the Asia Pacific. Clarence T’ao, partner of GoImpact said: “GoImpact is excited to bring to the Asian market an ESG Fund which combines the best of European Nordic expertise and deep roots in Asian market knowledge. Together with the liquidity of the Fund, this will appeal to the investment appetite of family offices.” The fund added that this will be a Singapore-domiciled entity under the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) VCC pilot programme. The VCC framework is a newly unveiled structure aimed at drawing fund managers to domicile their funds in the Asian city-state over jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands. The VCC structure launches on January 15, 2020. “The VCC is a well-designed, user-friendly, tax-efficient fund structure that will provide asset managers based in Singapore an option to launch and operate a Singapore-domiciled vehicle. Both the asset management industry and investors look forward to enjoying the benefits of the newly established VCC regime for funds utilizing both public and private strategies,” said Gordian Capital founder and CEO Mark Voumard. VCCs are required to file their financial statements with ACRA, the regulator in Singapore. However, the details are not required to be publicly available, which would allow investors privacy. ESG investments crossed the $30-trillion mark in 2018 and are set to keep rising, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. In recent years, consumers have been shifting towards more environmentally conscious buying. Investors have also been demanding more transparent reporting in their portfolios. However, with the exception of UNDP’s principles, definitions around ESG investing remain highly ambiguous.
I am a management consultant by training, alumni of Boston Consulting Group and Willis Towers Watson, and spent most of my career in the finance industry, holding top management positions in bulge bracket institutions like JPMorgan Chase and BNP Paribas Wealth Management. There are two topics that define my career – sustainable finance and digital transformation. How can we deploy capital and tech for good are not only my passion but my commitment to building a platform like GoImpact to help accelerate. Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now? Absolutely, I don’t think I would be bold enough to walk away from the security of a big corporate role to build this platform, be it extremely timely and much needed, if I did not have a thorough background and established network in both Finance and Sustainable Development, across public and private sectors. CX and why it is a battleground for the financial services sector incumbents & challengers? More than ever more, customers are in the driving seat. Technology and digitalisation have given them much more readily available information, and social media has given everyone a voice. If firms do not truly address the needs of customers and be mindful of their journey when using the firms’ products or services, customers will move on. Even for financial services, the relationship is a lot less sticky than you would assume. Having customers as the focus of this relationship is vital, it is not just about building shiny new things to digitise the customer journey. This is challenging for incumbents as they have layers of legacy systems and issues to deal with, and for challengers, they need to build a critical mass quickly before they can have the clout and credibility to roll out CX. Sustainable Finance – what’s missing, and what’s next? This is a huge momentum fast gaining traction, but the talk is still far louder than the action. A major challenge is how to get mainstream finance sector onboard in an actionable and realistic manner, not just propaganda talk and discussion forums where we see same old faces in same old places talking about same old issues year after year. The finance sector is keen to respond to needs of capital owners, and this is something that GoImpact as a platform is working to educate, advocate and accelerate by connecting the dots that drives next step actions. Inclusion – why it’s a key driver for the future of work As the workforce becomes more mobile and diverse, it is important to embrace the perspectives of different backgrounds in order to meet the needs of fast shifting demands. Inclusion is multi-dimensional, and to be effective, we need to look at the inclusion of gender, age, race, culture. There are lots of market data that prove diverse and inclusive teams outperform those that are not, so inclusion is about productivity and adapting to the future of work. How can people find out more about you & your work? Well, you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and all the social pages and website of GoImpact.
Technology is a driving force when it comes to environmental sustainability and with it we’re able to further our efforts to find new ways of saving energy and being greener as a whole. Satellites and AI can be used to closely monitor deforestation and agricultural emissions, machine learning can be used to help develop new low-carbon materials to replace concrete and steel, everything from reducing waste to sustainable transport can be helped with technology. It just needs a global implementation. We’ve had a look into tech influencers discussing environmental sustainability, and sustainability influencers driving the debate where tech is being discussed. Within this report we aim to cover these areas: How to reach Tech audiences on Climate & Environment issues Who is influencing & driving the conversation? Which are the most prominent topics among the tech community? Which tech brands are most engaged by the Sustainability Community? The report below focusses on the period between 1st June 2018 to 31st May 2019. WHO ARE THE INFLUENCERS? We identified the top 5 Tech influencers driving the Environmental Sustainability debate – these are top global tech influencers who are creating original content, and have highly engaged audiences when posting on climate and environmental issues. These influencers should be prioritised for environmental campaigns to reach the tech audience – the full list of 20 is available for download. Top 5 Tech influencers on Environmental Sustainability Top 5 FinServ Influencers driving the Environmental Sustainability Debate Top 150 Most Engaged Tech Influencers on Environmental Sustainability We also identified the top 5 Sustainability influencers leading the debate around Environmental Sustainability where tech is being discussed. These influencers discuss the role of tech in helping to fight and solve key issues around sustainability. Top 5 Sustainability influencers on Environmental Sustainability and Tech topics Top 150 Most Engaged Social Environmental Sustainability Influencers on Environmental Sustainability and Tech Topics WHICH ARE THE KEY TOPICS? We analysed the top 472 global tech influencers who are active on environmental sustainability to identify their hot topics. Overall they generated 35,131 mentions on Environmental Sustainability topics from 1st June 2018 to 31st May 2019. The top ten topics driving the Environmental Sustainability debate among this community were identified below. Renewables was the most discussed topic by tech influencers, generating 1,108 mentions (22% of the whole conversation) followed by Reducing Emissions comprising 765 posts (15% of the debate) and Energy Efficiency accumulating 762 posts (15% of the debate). Key Topic Attention WHICH TECH BRANDS ARE MOST ENGAGED BY THE COMMUNITY? In the Global English debate on Environmental Sustainability we identified the top 5 Tech brands influencing this community. Siemens Energy was the most engaged tech brand in the global environmental sustainability debate over the time period 1st March to 30th May 2019. The other top 4 brands were Google Cloud, SAP, Microsoft and LG Electronics. Top 5 Influential Tech Brands In the Global Sustainability Debate Environmental sustainability is not only of high importance globally, but it is also such a broad topic that filters into a multitude of sectors. Looking at it from as many different angles as possible is the best way to get a well-rounded view, and find the influencers that are of specific interest to you. The full report with additional influencers is available below. Download the Full Report at https://onalytica.com/blog/posts/tech-and-environmental-sustainability-top-40-influencers/ Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking correlates to a strong indication of influence – however no definitive measurement of influence exists. The individuals listed here are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around Tech and Environmental Sustainability. Onalytica’s PageRank based methodology is used to extract influential experts on a particular topic and takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives – this allows us to identify Topical Authority (reference) – our priority influence metric. We analyzed topical authority via their social engagement on Twitter and how much influential experts were referenced in association with Tech and Environmental Sustainability on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Forums, Blogs, News and Tumblr content. These calculations also take into account a user’s resonance (topical engagement) relevance (number of posts on topic, and % relevance – the proportion of their social content on the topic) and reach (number of followers). If you want to learn more, please read our article that outlines How to identify your target influencers.
From talk to action ; from sideline to mainstage The first half of 2019 has been “eventful” in the literal sense of the word. In my new role as Co-Founder of GoImpact, our platform has been fortunate to engage with forerunners in the sustainable development space, being Knowledge Partner with Financial Times in the “Investing for Good Asia” Forum in April; acting as one of the Judges for the Liveability Challenge organized by Temasek Foundation with whom we are a Strategic Partner; and joining forces with many financial institutions and large corporations as the market traction for Sustainable Finance is fast escalating. However, is this a false dawn or a true momentum? Are we, as a group of dedicated practitioners and advocates, able to move beyond the talk (which there is no lack of …) to real action? And mobilize this critical agenda from the sidelines to mainstage? The rhetoric is louder than ever ….. The gaps and hurdles are still plentiful ….. Three main gaps to plug – Understanding, Data, Collaboration Of the myriad of issues hampering the development of Sustainable Finance, there are three major gaps that we need to plug, in order to scale up and speed up. Understanding Gap A tendency to “preach to the converted”, in a language filled with coined acronyms and academic debates that contributes to walling in Sustainable Finance as alternative rather than mainstream. Metrics are developed by various practitioners but the perceived challenges of having common benchmarks for investors to relate to are often magnified to the point that it becomes a “show stopper”. Data Gap Data are fragmented and hence, not readily accessible in a relevant and orderly manner as investors (particularly institutional investors and ulta high net worth private capital owners) rightly expect, and much needed to drive scalable actions. Collaboration Gap Rapid market traction of this agenda often stays at the superficial, theatrics and publicity level. We are seeing recently, market and regulatory demands that drive this to a more substantial level though. To accelerate and scale sustainable investments, we need enablers and platforms that connect the disjointed stakeholder groups, simplify and clarify the investment universe, and advocate in a practical action-driven manner, rather than annual gatherings of the “converted” preaching the same mantra and lamenting the same problems to a similar audience that become sponsorship revenues for the organizers but does not truly “move the needle”. Here is a short video clip from the opening panel at Financial Times “Investing for Good” Asia Forum, where I highlighted these gaps to a highly engaged audience of investors and finance industry professionals Capital is moving towards sustainable investments – Is it fast enough? Ready enough for investors at large? While the data captured in the latest Sustainability Trends Report (extracted infographics below) from Generation Investments point to an encouraging upward trend for sustainable investments, to mobilize private capital en masse, we are still lacking the readiness of information and knowledge access, and effective framework around which ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) metrics can be integrated into investors’ portfolio management. In the past few years, ESG focus in Asia has received a huge boost on the back of government and regulators initiatives. Mandatory ESG disclosure and clearer guidelines for ESG reporting are all working to improve corporate transparency. Stock exchanges in a number of countries including Hong Kong, Thailand have made it compulsory for listed companies to disclose their sustainability information. China is following suit, with all listed companies there having to report on ESG risks and related disclosures by 2020. Such top-down focus is expected to further drive improved corporate governance that will positively influence sustainable investment opportunities. With the exponential growth of technologies and their adoption by capital markets, such as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, we are in a much better position than ever before to scale up sustainable investments. Indeed, “capital for good” and “tech for good” are the twin engines to achieve the 2030 Plan for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the excellent backdrop that United Nations have provided as a blue print for a better livelihood and better Planet. Just as the distinction between online and bricks-and-mortar retail will increasingly blur in the next decade, so will the distinction between impact and mainstream investing. Surely, the ultimate goal for sustainable investment is to make this term redundant – a time when every investment is a sustainable impact investment.
Bringing diversity to the workplace has been a strategic focus for companies to raise their competitive advantage. However, diversity could not be achieved without an inclusive culture, our conversation with Debra Ruh, CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT explores the importance of creating an inclusive workplace to prepare for the future of work. Economies are now challenged by the effects of the ageing population and rapid shift in technology, many fear they are not equipped enough for the work and the jobs that are becoming available. While bringing forward education and awareness is the first step towards inclusion, we have to ensure whether individuals want to work, and whether they have the tools, education and opportunities made available and accessible to them. While emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain are drivers for future economies and enablers for inclusion, there are concerns on programming unconscious biases into systems that could potentially affect millions of people. Debra shared a discussion she had with Rob Neuhauser, the President of Siemens in Germany. They chatted about the importance of addressing issues of unconscious bias with five generations in the same workforce and how such dynamics can help build better technologies. In one of Siemens initiatives, they created innovative courses and empowered workers to understand how their brain works, over half of their employees took the course voluntarily and applied it to the recruitment process. To their surprise, they were hiring 50% more women engineers than in the past. As Debra emphasized, “really think about diversity in a different way, because when we think about it differently, we see more creativeness and innovation.” Creating a culture of inclusion brings in different types of people and ideas that fuel creativity and innovation as a collective, whereas hiring “mini-me’s” who have the same background and thinking limits the capacity for ideas to clash and conversations for the next big thing to happen. By embracing inclusion, Siemens is able to close the gap and optimize its workforce, hence delivering better service and products. This is just one example from Debra. Listen to the full exchange here. Follow us for more insights from our guests on GoImpact Chats podcast.