More than $300 million has been invested in clean energy over the last year in an initiative monitored by the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
CASE is tracking the progress of $1.5 billion that was committed to impact investing by 29 organizations in June 2014. Adjunct professor Cathy Clark is director of the CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing and served on a national advisory board that developed recommendations for how U.S. policymakers could encourage more impact investing — the practice of investment for societal good as well as financial gain.
Highlights of the progress so far were announced during a Clean Energy Investment Summit at the White House.
"In just a year, more than $300 million of new investments have been made by this group of American investors in clean energy and climate solutions to benefit the planet," Clark said. "Their investments are hugely diverse, into innovations around water, renewables, energy-efficient housing, sustainable real assets, climate change mitigation and energy efficiency. They are driving investment dollars into both public and private markets, and showing a clear and pioneering example for other impact investors around what good investment opportunities there are in all of these areas."
More than three quarters of the 29 participating organizations indicated an intention to invest in clean energy and environment solutions over the next five years. The 2015 Sector Highlights Report shows commitments large and small from foundations and investors such as Capricorn Investment Group, The McKnight Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. A broader report with progress in all sectors will be released later in the year.
"I'm really encouraged to see investors from all sectors and all sizes, from foundation endowments to private funds to religious groups to new asset managers, working to drive toward better solutions for energy and climate issues," Clark said. "While for now this is just money going out, a new study from Oxford University showed sustainable investing has a lower cost of capital and higher stock prices, and other studies have shown that portfolios managed with environmentally sustainable strategies regularly outperform other portfolios. If that data continues over the next few years, these pioneers may soon be lauded for finding ways to beat the market while making a difference."