Impact Investment Funds Webinar Series (Part II)
Continuing on from our Impact Investment Funds Webinar Series earlier this year, ClearlySo, Octopus and Paul Hastings have teamed up again to bring you more webinars, this time covering the topics of energy, the future of food, real estate and economic recovery.
With interest in impact investing surging, this online series will bring together experts across the investment sector to discuss the latest trends and the market responses in a series of topical panel-based fora. These in-depth discussions should be particularly interesting and lively given the unprecedented climate and the experts who will be participating.
The upcoming webinars will be focused on four main topics respectively:
17th September, 14:00 – Sustainable Energy & Renewables
15th October, 14:00 – The Future of Food
12th November, 14:00 – Real Estate
10th December, 14:00 – Economic Recovery
See below for more information on each of the webinars or register directly, here.
Missed part I of the Impact Investment Funds webinar series? Catch up on demand here
On 17 June 2020, the UK ended a run of 67 days without use of any power from coal — the first time this had happened since the industrial revolution. The shift to less carbon intensive and more sustainable forms of energy has been dramatic. Across the EU it is now roughly represents 1/5 of all power consumed and, in the UK, it is nearer to 1/3. The shift has been dramatic and will become more so as renewable forms of energy are frequently cheaper than traditional sources, before even considering the adverse climate impacts on planet earth from the use of carbon-based sources.
The shift away from carbon not only represents the largest volume in the field of impact investment but is one of the great mainstream investment opportunities of the century. These investment opportunities go well beyond energy production; extending into fuel storage, smart energy management, grid optimisation, retail energy sales, energy efficiency and a host of other categories too numerous to mention. This is before we consider the impact of de-carbonisation on mobility and the enormous investment needs required for this global transition.
Unsurprisingly, a host of top tier investment firms have established strong capabilities in this area and are raising billions in capital to invest in the most attractive opportunities. Prospective limited partners and other asset owners are actively seeking the best funds focused on what they hope will be the best opportunities. We will assemble a top-tier panel of experts to explore these issues and identify some of the most attractive investments and investment themes.
Title: Sustainable Energy & Renewables
Date: Thursday 17th September 2020
Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (BST)
Octopus Renewables – Alex Brierley, Co-Head
Impax Asset Management – Daniel von Preyss, Head of Private Equity Infrastructure
ETF Partners – Lucy Rands, Investment Manager
ClearlySo – Rod Schwartz, Founder & CEO (Moderator)
On the first trading day in May 2019 shares of Beyond Meat soared 163%, the best performing IPO for nearly two decades. At one point in 2019, Beyond Meat was bigger than 25% of companies in the S&P 500. Despite volatility in the stock since launch and the company’s heavy exposure to a food service slump during the coronavirus pandemic, the company is currently valued at $7.8bn.
Beyond Meat’s IPO could be considered an inflection point and the start of major changes in our food system. Since then two of the largest U.S. milk processors have filed for bankruptcy, Swedish oat-milk maker Oatly has reached a staggering $2bn valuation after selling a $200m stake to a group led by private-equity giant Blackstone, and cellular agriculture company Aleph Farms has successfully grown meat in space.
Capital has been flowing into the space at an increasing rate. Venture investments in plant-based meat and dairy alternatives soared to $1.1 billion this year, up from $457 million in all of 2019, while investments in companies that grow cell-based meat more than tripled to $290 million from $75 million.
As more products come to market as a result, Bloomberg reported that global meat consumption is down for the first time in nine years, dropping 3% from last year. Meanwhile the German Federal Statistical Office reported an increase of 37% in sales of vegetarian and vegan products, and the number of vegan trademarks registered in the UK leapt 128% in a year as the trend for plant-based foods accelerates.
As new firms rush to capture this soaring demand big corporates have also started reacting – KFC is partnering with 3D Bioprinting Solutions to produce cellular agriculture based KFC nuggets using a novel bioprinter, DuPont has launched a new plant-based brand Danisco Planit, and US food giant Cargill’s Chief Information Officer Jane Kilmartin admitted ‘the pandemic has altered consumer behaviour and the customary supply chain practices’.
With food considered the largest industry in the world (the World Bank estimates 10% of global GDP), institutional investors have started to take notice of the changes underfoot and consider how to integrate the evolving market dynamics into their investment theses.
To help navigate the emerging food tech sector ClearlySo and our partners have brought together experts in the field across investment, science, and policy to discuss the changes underfoot and how we might all be eating in the years to come.
Title: The Future of Food
Date: Thursday 15th October 2020
Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (BST)
One of the unsung heroes in the impact investment fund category are those which are property based. Whereas the venture capital-oriented funds have received the greatest amount of public attention, a significant amount of capital has been raised in funds that are achieving impact but are also backed by real assets.
The focus in this real estate area has been on both achieving impact by virtue of improving the energy efficiency of buildings, but an increasing amount of attention Is now concentrated on the social dimension. The latter can relate to how the building is built, who has built it, its impact on the local community and the impact on tenants. Within real estate impact funds some have targeted social housing, affordable housing and affordable renting, but In addition there have been funds and corporate vehicles established, which have been property-backed, that concentrate on the commercial real estate sector.
A wide variety of players have been attracted to this market, and this panel seeks to bring their differing views and perspectives to the surface. Given the global nature of property investment, the panel also comprises a range of national perspectives.
Title: Real Estate Webinar
Date: Thursday 12th November 2020
Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (BST)
2020 has been an unusual year—this is probably the understatement of the century. The global community is facing its greatest challenge in decades from an economic, social and health standpoint. Millions have died from COVID-19, and many argue that we will face many waves of the epidemic—others argue that the economic and social consequences of the pandemic and our reactions to it could be equally or even more harmful.
Governments have spent trillions supporting economies/businesses/individuals in the immediate advent of the pandemic, but there is widespread recognition that this period of economic contraction will lead to some long term damage—with many thousands of decent businesses collapsing under the weight of such a dramatic decline in revenues—and many millions to become unemployed. Governments are seeking to address that challenge, but the private sector has an enormous role to play.
Impact funds will be a big part of this and many funds targeting the generation of jobs in this transitional environment will be highly impactful. Many set out directly to do this and are raising private and public capital to make a difference. Quite a few of the UN SDGs (1: No Poverty, 3: Good Health and Well-Being, 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and 10: Reduced Inequalities) will be directly addressed by such funds.
As this is the last session of this tumultuous year, we will organise a special session to look ahead and prepare our economies for the new post-COVID-19 environment. Not only will we include the normal mix of fund managers and investors, but also a senior government figure as well as an independent economist to offer their suggestions for how to minimise the harmful consequences of this tragic year. Moreover, many commentators and elected leaders insist we will build back better and address some of the longstanding challenges to our societies. What does this mean and how specifically do they suggest we do this? What will be the investment opportunities to generate the highest impact and returns? All these themes and others will be discussed in this extra-length session, opened by a senior figure from the political realm. Do join us for this 7th and last session of 2020!
Title: Economic Recovery Webinar
Date: Thursday 10th December 2020
Time: 14:00 – 16:00 (BST)