Since 2017, the Chinese government has placed an estimated 1.8 million predominantly Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Hui, in detention camps, prisons, and factories across the Uyghur Region in China.
This detention underpins systems of repression, in which business enterprises are involved, including wide-spread forced labor of people in and from the Uyghur Region who have been made to work in business enterprises across China; and mass surveillance of people in and from the Uyghur Region, through the use of technology.
Global companies have operations, investments, partnerships, and other business relationships in the Uyghur Region across many sectors. Institutional investors can potentially be connected to these egregious human rights abuses through their investments in these companies.
The goal of the webinar is for investors to:
- Increase their understanding of the scale and nature of the repression in the Uyghur Region and the complicity of companies in this abuse;
- Understand the salient risks to people associated with the business activities of their portfolio companies in or connected with the Uyghur Region;
- Provide guidance to investors on how to engage with its portfolio companies to identify, prevent and mitigate those risks, and where that is not possible, to consider divestment; and
- Collaborate with other investors, civil society stakeholders, international organizations, and policymakers – to stop, prevent, and mitigate risks associated with investments.
Expert speakers will offer critical perspectives for investors to navigate this human rights crisis: Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director & Zumretay Arkin, Program Director & Advocacy, World Uyghur Congress Megha Rajagopalan, International Correspondent, BuzzFeed News Mariefaye Bechrakis, Program Manager and Research Associate, CSIS Shoko Sekiguchi, Snr. Responsible Investment Research Associate, Domini Impact Investment Moderator: Anita Dorett, Associate Program Director, ICCR
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM EDT
Dr. Raj Thamotheram is a pioneer in responsible investing. He worked for 12 years inside the system in senior management roles at a large pension fund (USS) and a global fund manager (AXA IM), before becoming a freelance consultant in order to start Preventable Surprises. He is a recognised thought leader on how companies and investors can adapt to put people and planet on par with profit and so deliver long-term value and has been nominated twice by Global Proxy Watch as “one of the 10 most influential figures in the corporate governance field”. He is one of the co-founders of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets and a former trustee of Friends Provident Foundation, where he played a key role in the organisation’s decision to become an “active and engaged investor”.
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
A virtual fireside chat with Amy Francetic and Michael Whelchel
About this Event
Note: This program is a Live Webinar and Q&A that is accessible from any web-enabled computer or mobile device. Premium members of Impact Entrepreneur get complimentary admission to all live and archived webinars.
Impact Private Equity Funds: An Insider’s View
The landscape of impact private equity funds has changed dramatically. Over the last ten years, the number of funds has grown from approximately 30 to approaching 1,000. A decade ago, the average fund size was in the tens of millions and typically had a generalist approach to the impact themes in which it invested. Today, the average fund size is in the hundreds of millions of dollars and the funds invest in both a broad array of impact themes to very specific themes, such as aquaculture, education technology, cleantech, ESOPs and ethnic diversity, to name a few. The returns have been promising. In a recent analysis, impact funds performed as well or better than traditional private equity fund counterparts of their same vintage year.
In this live fireside chat and audience Q&A, Impact Entrepreneur’s Laurie Lane-Zucker welcomes Amy Francetic of Buoyant Ventures and Michael Whelchel of Big Path Capital to review the impact private equity landscape. We will discuss, among other topics:
- What has changed over the last 10 years
- What the data says about returns
- Which impact themes are invested in most frequently
- How fund managers balance return and impact
- Lessons learned from raising and running a fund
- Who typically invests in funds
AMY FRANCETIC is founder and Managing General Partner of Buoyant Ventures, a new venture fund in Chicago that aims to invest in digital climate solutions for energy, transportation, agriculture, and the built environment. Her career spans over 20 years of high technology entrepreneurship, private equity, and research. Amy previously founded and led Energize Ventures, a $165mm venture fund that invests in digital technologies that optimize energy equipment and infrastructure. She oversaw the Fund’s investment activities and operations. She also co-founded and served as CEO of technology accelerator Clean Energy Trust, which has invested in dozens of early-stage clean energy companies across the Midwestern US. She remains involved and now serves as Chair of its Board of Directors. Amy also held roles at private equity firm MVC Capital, helping to open the Chicago office, and at Stanford Research Institute where she worked on an early version of the voice recognition technology that became Siri. Earlier in her career, she was co-founder and CEO of a consumer technology company that was funded by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, and that she sold to the Danish toy company, Lego Systems. Amy also helped fundraise for mobile gaming company, GluMobile, on whose board she served until it went public on the NASDAQ.
In addition to the Clean Energy Trust board, Amy serves on the Advisory Board for the WISER Institute at the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2020 Crain’s recognized her for the third time as one of Chicago’s Top 50 Technology Leaders. In 2019 she was honored by Streetwise as one of the “20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans.” In 2015 she was an Emerging Leader at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs. In 2014 she was awarded the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award from the Executives’ Club of Chicago, and Leading Woman in Technology from the Illinois Technology Association. Amy is a regular lecturer in energy and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago’s Law School. She has a BA from Stanford University.
MICHAEL WHELCHEL is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Big Path Capital, “impact investing’s investment bank”, a boutique impact investment bank focused on providing Corporate Finance, M&A, and Placement Agent services to impact companies and funds globally. Big Path has worked with over 180 impact and sustainable companies and funds, more than any firm in the sector.
In 2007 the old economy driven by the single gear of profit maximization reached a dead end in the financial crisis. It was a moment of reckoning during which Michael left his fifteen-year career in private equity to form Big Path Capital with his partner, Shawn Lesser, leveraging the engine of capitalism for an expansive economy built on natural, social, and financial capital. Recognizing that impact investing isn’t just a different way of investing but a superior way of deploying capital, Michael is committed to challenging the status quo and to raising the expectation of capital. In this vein, Big Path has created a number of first-in-class initiatives demonstrating SmarterMoney+: Maximize impact, Maximize return. These include the Five Fund Forum, Impact Capitalism Summit, and Impact & Sustainable Trade Missions.
Michael received his BA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN and received a joint MBA and MEM (Master of Engineering Management) from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
LAURIE LANE-ZUCKER is Founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur, an impact economy business that hosts the Impact Entrepreneur Network, a 26,000 member global network of entrepreneurs, investors and scholars. Impact Entrepreneur is a cornerstone field building, research and educational player in the social impact space, and a consulting company that works with blended value companies, impact investors and academic institutions. For nearly 30 years, Laurie has been a “pioneer” (Forbes) and recognized leader in sustainability, social enterprise and impact investing. Laurie was the founding Executive Director of the international environmental organization, Orion Society, which publishes the celebrated Orion Magazine, as well as the founder of a global sustainability think-tank, the Triad Institute, and Hotfrog, a Founding B Corporation, GIIRS Pioneer Company, and the first company ever to complete an equity transaction on an impact investment exchange.
Laurie is the bestselling and multiple award-winning publisher and editor of books and magazines on sustainability and social impact, having published, edited and written the introductions for celebrated works by Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez and David James Duncan. He is the author of numerous articles on entrepreneurship and impact investing, and is the co-founder of the Place-Based Education movement, having coined the term with Dr. John Elder, and published, edited and written the foreword for the first book on that growing pedagogy. His current writing projects include two chapters (both co-written) for a forthcoming textbook, Sustainability: Business and Investment Implications by World Scientific Publishing.
Laurie is also a lifelong student of world wisdom traditions and is the former Executive Director of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, a nonprofit organization founded by Pir Zia Inayat Khan focused on advancing wisdom in service of social and environmental healing.
Impact Entrepreneur’s Luminarias Webinar Series features reflective conversations with the leading lights in impact investing and entrepreneurship.
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM EDT
Join The Economist’s executive and diplomatic editor, Daniel Franklin, for an in-depth discussion about how we can leverage the current crisis to reset, evolve and reorganise for the better through digital connectivity.
During lockdowns around the world, digital connections sustained personal and professional life. Adapting immediately to this new normality became the only option for governments, businesses and organisations.
Institutions which embraced the digital transformations of their offerings, and which invested accordingly, have enjoyed impressive benefits. Take Estonia, the citizens of which all own a digital identity linked to their bank accounts and to the tax system. As a consequence, working out which Estonians were receiving needed government support was relatively simple.
Meanwhile firms which deliver goods and services through digital platforms, such as those involved with online learning or digital healthcare, saw demand surge during the pandemic. Zoom’s count of daily active users jumped twentyfold to 200m in the three months to March 2020. Amazon wants to hire some 100,000 workers to meet demand during the crisis.
The pandemic exposed digital inadequacy quickly. At the end of March, the website of the INPS, the Italian social-security office, received 300,000 applications for welfare in a single day. It crashed. In several countries, including Spain, mobile operators have asked users to reduce their data consumption owing to the network overload.
How can institutions change to meet digital needs going forward? How can they deploy an appropriate strategy in months–not years? How can they pay for the transformation? And what about privacy concerns?
The costs need balancing against the possible benefits. Digital infrastructure can facilitate recovery in the wake of covid-19. What remains open for discussion is both how it can improve social equity and inclusiveness, and how technology can ensure cities and countries build more cohesive communities for the future.
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM – 12:00PM EST
Join us on Thursday 29th October to listen to the learnings of early adopters of UNEP FI’s unique Portfolio Impact Analysis Tool for Banks, find out about the first tool updates and discover the brand new Guide to Holistic Impact Analysis.
In April 2020 Finance UNEP Initiative launched two ground-breaking tools: the Portfolio Impact Analysis Tool for Banks and the Corporate Impact Analysis Tool. The Tools’ unique holistic impact analysis methodology enables financial institutions to understand the actual and potential positive and negative impacts associated with their business across the SDG spectrum of environmental, social and economic issues. The Portfolio Tool enables a top-down portfolio level analysis for banks, in particular signatories to the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), while the Corporate Tool enables a bottom-up review of financial institutions’ main and systemically important clients.
So what’s new?
After six months of 6 months of implementation by practitioners….
- Finance UNEP Initiative is releasing a detailed Guide to Holistic Impact Analysis aimed at supporting users of the Portfolio Impact Analysis Tool for Banks;
- They have made exciting updates to the Tools’ in-built country needs assessment framework, one of several unique in-built resources of the Tools;
- And they are busily preparing new features as well as additional holistic impact analysis tools to be released in 2021.
Join us on 29th October for an interactive walk-through of the tool, featuring the experiences and learnings of the Tools’ early users.
09:00 – 10:30 CET – Register here
15:30 – 17:00 CET – Register here
Morning Session (09:00 -10.30 CET)
- Jana Platau-Wagner, ESG Lead – Risk Strategy, Bank of Ireland
- Mette Kornvig, Head of Regulation, Capital Markets, Jyske Bank
- Rosemary Bissett, Head of ESG Risk Management, National Australia Bank
- Cansu Oğuz, CSR & Sustainability Management, Yapi Kredi
- Careen Abb, Programme Lead, Positive Impact Finance, UNEP FI
- Nermin El Ghazali, Strategy and Change Management, Banque Misr
Afternoon Session (15:30 – 17:00 CET)
- Simon Stücheli, Sustainability Risk, Credit Suisse
- Niklas Rydberg, Business Areas Specialist Group Sustainable Finance, Nordea
- Maria Belen Benitez, Senior E&S Risk Analyst, Produbanco
- Mandeep Sidhu, Consultant, Partnerships – Community Investment, Vancity
- Careen Abb, Programme Lead, Positive Impact Finance, UNEP FI
- Dr Penny Apostolaki, VP, Sustainability and ESG, Barclays