NGOs have grown from grassroots organizations lobbying major development and economic events to providing valuable environmental products and services. The Carbon Disclosure Project is an example of an NGO that has left some of its commercial competitors scrambling to catch up. The provider of carbon credit pricing and performance information had humble beginnings. Its founder Paul Dickinson knocked on the door of the corporate world and asked companies to disclose their carbon emissions. Today, over 80 percent of the world’s major corporations report emissions to the CDP, as do many cities. For-profit carbon data providers, among them the world’s leading information companies, can only watch with envy.
“Stepping away from the old-style NGO approach to companies, the CDP and its leaders are both optimistic and relentlessly pro-business. At the core of the organization’s mission is a commitment to the power of data to improve business performance,” says environmental strategy consultant Andrew Winston on the HBR Blog Network.
If you had the choice, would you invest in the NGO or the for-profit laggards? Many NGOs would make attractive investments for social investors seeking a social and financial return. So to add to our article on where to find green venture philanthropy opportunities, here is a list of NGOs. Let’s get creative and explore potential investment opportunities.
The Climate Bonds Initiative – What about spinning an NGO into a carbon and project finance advisory firm. This group is helping to evaluate and set standards for climate change bonds, thereby providing more credibility and long-term financing options for green projects.
Green Cross International brings safe and sanitary water to rural villages by installing water systems, including water pumps and rainwater harvesting systems, as well eco latrines. It has recently signed on to the Platform for Global Water Solidarity, together with 25 other organizations, to bring clean water to 800 million people
Biofuels – A number of NGs are involved in biofuels, providing technical support and project development and management, such as the Green Africa Foundation and Centre for Indian Bamboo Resource and Technology, whose project management and technical services are not unlike those provided by a Bechtel or Siemens.
NGOs are involved in all facets the environmental markets, including clean water technology and projects, biofuels, sustainable tourism, and renewable energy. No doubt, there is tremendous opportunity for a social venture model to be applied to this sector, leveraging the leading market expertise of the NGOs.
The Carbon Disclosure Project is a good model. Today, it has grown into an information powerhouse, providing data and reports through its climate change, supply chain and water programs; and boasting the world’s largest repository of self-reported corporate environmental data.” Nonetheless, the CDP is still an environmental lobbyist at heart. Rather than jump the fence and become a full-fledged capitalist, it is turning investors into activists. It has recently joined with 92 pension funds, asset managers, insurers and banks to call for further corporate carbon emissions reductions. “The Carbon Action initiative is an excellent means for AXA IM to evolve its existing support of CDP and highlight the importance of a low-carbon future by moving from disclosure into a more interactive engagement between investors and companies,” says Matt Christensen, global head of responsible investment at AXA Investment Managers.
Do you have any good sources or inspirations for venture philanthropy to share with our ecosociable investors?