The webinar explored along with the practitioners and Policy analysts, the space of private investments in sustainable developments.
The ESG assets may hit $53 trillion by 2025, a third of global AUM are going to be sustainability related. Despite this exhilarating market response, the corporate participation and actions are found to fall short on both commitment and output. While the size of sustainability Assets under management are growing multi fold – the impact it creates is not seen to grow at the same pace.
A lot of the slow pace of change was attributed to the lack of disclosures and transparency. Also, incorrect signaling on what ESG funds really are and how they truly impact.
The sustainable debt market (green, social and sustainability bonds) reached a cumulative USD1.7tn at the end of 2020. But the large corporations still need to do a lot to push the numbers to where they begin to truly matter and start making an impact.
For investors of the philanthropic nature or the ones with Impact first nature, the theory of change is important and investing with the idea to unlock the huge potential of a space by initially funding an impact project even with low to no returns are the prevalent models they follow. However, there is a rising popularity of for-profit projects (with positive impact on SDGs) clearly in the impact space as well as mainstream investors too.
The bodies that review and sometimes offer comparison on investor and business data and also their feedback in the space were discussed.
One of the key underlying thoughts throughout the discussion was - There is no cookie cutter approach or a common framework being used by investors for tracking and managing their metrics on investment progress in terms of sustainable development. Responsible Investment measurement is a 2 way street, especially when it comes to adoption of SDGs and metrics for measurement of progress. The common practice right now is - One can first reach out to look at the SDGs they are mapping to and then come back to define their own metrics and then take their progress back again to SDGs to see which SDGs they contributed to.
SDGs are to be looked upon as the guiding factor rather than a metric and them being more thematic than corporate centric, can help in aligning sector and company or investor specific ESG factors with broader societal and environmental goals.
Smita leads the Clean Energy and Climate Action Portfolios at Social Alpha. Social Alpha is an initiative to drive economic growth, social justice and climate action through the power of entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations. Smita has been deeply engaged with the global energy access ecosystem for more than 13 years, contributing across a wide spectrum of institutional programmes and interventions in public, private and development sectors.
Smita is passionate about catalysing large-scale yet inclusive social change through responsible investments and market based solutions. Smita firmly believes that an honest engagement with the primary stakeholders must include women and other on-the-margin populations and advocates better contextualisation of solutions for community adoption, scale and deep impact. She has extensively worked on designing and implementing evidence-driven strategies that accelerate and sustain social impact. Prior to joining Social Alpha, Smita worked with organisations such as TERI, Sambodhi, Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective (AIREC) and Tata Trusts. Smita holds a Masters degree in Environmental Sciences from TERI University and is a Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellow on Social Innovation.
Priscilla is a policy analyst on private funding for Sustainable Development at OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). She leads the work on impact as part of the Blended Finance team. She has 13 years of experience in research, policy and training - and in building networks.
Ruchi is the senior manager on the Strategy and Impact team at Omidyar Network India (ONI), and is responsible for measuring our portfolio’s impact, taking a holistic view on strategy and ensuring that we are continually learning in order to make better investments going forward. Before joining ONI, she worked across diverse industries – consulting, private-equity, education, healthcare and manufacturing. Ruchi has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Smita Mishra is the founder of Fandoro Technologies, a SaaS startup that helps businesses become planet-positive through the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework. They help enterprises build purpose-led businesses by identifying and managing their sustainability-related risks and opportunities. She’s also the Founder and CEO of QAZone Infosystems, a software testing firm.
Smita is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services, retail, banking, and utility industries. As a computer science engineer, Smita is skilled in data analytics and user experience. She’s also adept in the areas of business risk mitigation for tech products as well as project/product/test management.Aside from also being an international speaker on technology and diversity in tech, Smita also engages with different forums to assist growth for women in her field.