Upto $44 trillion could be going up in smoke if the world does not act on climate change, according to the latest piece of research from U.S. banking giant: Citigroup. This makes it imperative not just to mobilize new sources of investment capital from corporates and financial institutions, but also to use philanthropic capital more strategically.
The McKnight Foundation's four point framework to leverage their resources to maximise impact on climate change is sheer genius. The framework allows them to use their funds wisely to unlock new sources of capital on the supply side and ensure the capital mobilized is also well utilized on the demand side. Hopefully the post-2015 era sees more Foundations thinking more along these lines so we can shift the narrative from climate change to climate resilience.
In 2013, our board established a flexible impact investing program with $200 million, or 10 percent of our $2 billion endowment. Our program utilizes direct investment, funds, and debt to provide financial returns, coupled with environmental or social returns. Impact investing must also provide learning returns to the foundation, whereby program staff gain new market-oriented information and perspectives. But as we began asking how we might better leverage the other 90 percent, we discovered even greater opportunities for impact. We have since developed a responsible investing framework that applies across our entire portfolio.