Investing in Solutions to the Climate Crisis and a Stakeholder-Focused Economy
B Corps Incorporate Regenerative, Sustainable Models to Protect and Heal Our Planet
As severe weather, air and water pollution, and other effects of the climate crisis become more common and destructive, the window of opportunity to reverse them continues to narrow. Extractive capitalism and industrialization are among the worst offenders accelerating the climate crisis. To ensure we avoid the worst, those with access to capital must mobilize resources to companies and organizations that are working to create a sustainable, and ultimately regenerative, form of capitalism.
At The Builders Fund, we believe capital and the businesses it supports must shift to create long-term value, generating returns for and considering all stakeholders in decision-making, versus short-term and extractive models serving shareholders in a vacuum. As a Certified B Corporation investment firm, we seek to use our capital to help fix these large environmental and social challenges and build a more resilient global economy.
Earth-Centered Business in the Time of COVID-19
The reality of the times and of our own experience in building systems-aware businesses suggests a shift to a regenerative investment strategy is not only necessary — it’s imminently possible if we simply shift our economic models toward alignment with the reality of the nesting and complex systems of which we are all a part. We know aligning capital with nature isn’t just an idealistic wish because we have seen it happening in the forward-looking companies we partner with and their peers.
These companies include MPOWERD, a B Corp that makes solar-enabled lanterns that serve the U.S. consumer for camping and outdoor lifestyles while also using the profits to provide solar lanterns and chargers to the billions of people living without consistent access to electricity around the globe.
To distribute donated lanterns, MPOWERD works with NGOs and nonprofits around the world like the United Nations, Save the Children and Team Rubicon. These partners and MPOWERD’s team have impacted millions of lives and averted 1.8 million-plus tons of CO2.
Over the last four decades Traditional Medicinals, a fellow B Corp and the largest organic tea company in the U.S., has developed relationships to provide fair compensation and support the grower communities it sources from, and lives its sustainability values in how it operates the business.
The company and its source communities are continually looking ahead and planning how to continue to grow sustainably and to prepare for the impacts of climate change. The B Corp hired a medicinal plant agronomist to advise growers on best agricultural practices to increase yields and acreage sustainably.
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Incorporating a Climate Lens for Investment
For investors who realize the stakes we face and want to take action, The Builders Fund compiled data and examples from our 2020 impact report to highlight how the companies in our portfolio are helping address the climate crisis. While these efforts alone are not enough to turn the tide, they serve as strong examples of leadership that must emerge across every industry to reimagine capitalism as systems-responsible.
Across the Builders Fund I portfolio in 2019 alone, companies purchased 13 million pounds of organic, ethical, and fair trade produce and herbs, helping support and build more regenerative food systems in their local markets and globally. This supported our portfolio companies serving over 6 million healthy meals and over 500 million bags of organic herbal tea. Here’s a look at the positive environmental impact of some of our portfolio companies in 2019:
Urban Remedy, an omni-channel organic fresh food company with locations in 12 states and D.C., supported local and sustainable food systems in the United States by purchasing more than 20 million pounds of organic produce while diverting more 10 million pounds of waste from landfills since our investment.
Traditional Medicinals worked with longtime green tea supplier Ambootia Estates in Darjeeling, India, to support its organic and biodynamic farming practices via the purchase of 535 metric tons of carbon credits. With that purchase, the company was able to offset both its scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions from all direct energy and its scope 3 carbon emissions from material waste and business travel.
MPOWERD deployed over 130,000 Luci lights through NGOs and to emerging markets, impacting the lives of more than 680,000 people. The company’s operations helped avert 279,700 tons of carbon dioxide.
Mixt has been actively working to change the fast-casual dining industry paradigm by offering fresh, locally sourced organic meals and diverting 99% of its waste. It also sources 120 organic ingredients locally, creating a less environmentally harmful supply chain.