Financing sustainability is not just a nice idea, it’s being done on a large and growing scale in many regions. Venture and corporate funding for clean/alternative energy has reached $2.6 billion, environmental technology business venture funding $1.3 billion, and multiple bottom line venture capital has reached $1 billion in the US and $12 billion globally. To reach this size, investments in these sectors have doubled or tripled in the last few years. Environmental concerns have driven – or killed – business deals.
How does financing work when its goals are both to make money and to improve sustainability and the environment, taking life cycle effects into account? Are these necessarily tradeoffs, or can operating sustainably and helping the environment make serious money? What are the challenges? How have investors overcome them?
Many success stories have illustrated that sustainable businesses or projects can succeed – from clean energy to organic foods. But most of these are pilot projects, small projects, and companies in highly fragmented markets. The next challenge is going to be to scale these successful projects up from both a technology and business model standpoint to become the new way of doing business.
In this session, a panel of speakers will address their experiences considering life cycle concerns, especially as they pertain to the environment, when investing. Panelists will explore some of the business and financing issues inherent in starting, growing, and scaling up sustainable business, and energy and environmental solutions. They will share what has worked, what difficulties they encounter, and what needs change. They will also provide some tips for those who may be looking for financing on their projects or businesses.
Stephanie McGillivray, CFA, President, Complexity Management, LLC and Principal, SOAR Growth Capital, LLC
Travis Greenwalt, Senior Economist, Entrix (presentation)
Kathleen Sayce, Science Officer, Shorebank Pacific (presentation)
James Wavada, Department of Ecology, Spokane, WA (presentation)