Can you give us a teaser of your talk?
Amidst global planetary crises, more capital is aligning to solve these challenges. The terms used vary from sustainable to regenerative finance - I plan to provide an overview of the space, its definitions, and provide context as to why there is hope in the capital markets. I plan to discuss patterns and trends in the space from the perspective of who is investing, what their motivations are, some of the key barriers to moving more capital into impact, how we think about baselines, the status of impact measurement.
I came to realize that a large portion of the environmental community is unaware of, and sometimes unwilling, to incorporate basic economic and business principles
Tell us about what you are working on right now.
I'm working as an independent consultant with LIFT Economy (a cooperatively owned B Corp consulting group based in the Bay Area) and JumpScale (an investment advisory firm based in New York). I work primarily with impact investors and connect them with aligned, early-stage investors. I focus on investment research, thought leadership, pipeline sourcing and diligencing of impact-oriented companies, investment strategy, and financial modeling.
What is your background?
Degradation and the unsustainable development of land have been issues of great importance to me since childhood. Growing up mostly in rural North Carolina, I witnessed Chatham and Orange counties undergoing rapid, mostly detrimental growth. Living in the region through college, I gained a more holistic understanding of the far-reaching implications of this trend on public health, the social fabric of communities, community wealth, and the functioning of natural ecosystems.
In high school, I intuitively understood that economic progress and sustainable resource stewardship did not have to be mutually exclusive. As I continued to mature academically, it became very apparent to me that the way we structure our economic system ultimately shapes the way we interact with the natural world.
However, throughout most of my college career, and in my early professional experiences, I heard of very few tangible solutions to natural resource degradation beyond traditional charity or advocacy, despite substantial coursework in urban planning, geography, and environmental studies, internships, and volunteer work at smaller non-profit conservation organizations.
Through these experiences I came to realize that a large portion of the environmental community is unaware of, and sometimes unwilling, to incorporate basic economic and business principles when approaching environmental concerns. This oversight has been, in my opinion, a major pitfall of the modern environmental movement.
After college, I began to seek out experiences and opportunities to learn more about market-based approaches for scalable resource conservation efforts.
Throughout my career, I have been deeping my understanding of market-based mechanisms. I have also been learning and exploring dramatic systemic change from the perspective of shifting the strategies by which investment decisions are made in the capital markets.
However, the design of these solutions depends upon the availability of big-picture interdisciplinary thinkers and leaders with both an extensive knowledge of natural ecosystems and an understanding of the various alternatives for addressing the threats that they face.
I have worked to become such a leader, by enhancing not only my detailed understanding of natural ecosystems, but also my ability to transfer this knowledge to motivate others, specifically investors, to make more effective capital allocation decisions that are based on realistic natural resource assumptions.
What should we look out for in the next 5 years?
I think family offices will continue to serve as the catalytic capital necessary to move us into a regenerative economy.
We also need to pay more attention to company wellbeing, from the perspective of the internal dynamics of the people and team dynamics. Most of the impact investing space has focused on environmental and social outcomes, at the neglect of the leadership and employees. We are experiencing widespread burnout and a lot of wasted human talent and capacity as a result. This is part of the "healing" aspect of regeneration. Principles of a circular economy are beginning to emerge and become embedded into the ways companies design products, industrial processes, and their supply chains generally.
Who is doing good work in your field?
John Fullerton, an economist, impact investor, and writer at Capital Institute is one of the thought leaders of the regenerative economy. In 2015, he wrote a manifesto called: "Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Patterns and Principles Will Shape the New Economy" and it is a widely cited resource. He spent 20 years on Wall Street (a Managing Director at JP Morgan), and has now taken a lead on the transition our economy needs to make.
How do you hope Tulip will be different / better?
Synthesizing some of the most important trends of our time in a fun and engaging way. I like the focus on business trends and interweaving the top trends of our time together.