WASHINGTON (Landscape News) — More than 900,000 people living off the electrical grid now have improved access to renewable energy through solar panels and clean cookstoves due to an impact investment campaign, says a non-profit investment firm that supports businesses with a socio-environmental focus.
Calvert Impact Capital, helmed by Chief Executive Jennifer Pryce, raises capital from private investors – over the past 20 years to the tune of about $1.5 billion – then channels it to mission-driven organizations worldwide.
Calvert’s community investment notes, which start at $20, are debt securities that feed capital into community development initiatives. Since 1995, investments into the notes, which pay purchasers a fixed rate of interest for a fixed term, have ranged from $20 to $20 million.
“With our investors, the reason they want to engage their capital with us is because they want it heart and head connected, they want a social and a financial return, says Pryce, who will speak at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Investment Case Symposium in Washington on May 30.
Impact investing finances organizations working to benefit disadvantaged communities that typically cannot access financing through traditional means. The money Calvert Impact Capital raises is generally channeled either to funds or intermediaries that then onlend directly to businesses.
Ultimately, the aim is to lead communities to economic self-sufficiency by promoting affordable housing, small business development, job creation, environmental sustainability, energy access and efficiency, gender equity, economic and social development of disadvantaged communities.
Calvert Impact Capital’s committed portfolio focused on renewable energy for off-grid communities stands at $35 million to nine borrowers, including organizations like Off-Grid Electric, an intermediary that provides financing for solar businesses serving off-grid communities in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Women especially benefit from access to clean energy, as they make up roughly 50 percent of the global population, but account for almost 75 percent of the energy poor worldwide.
Access to clean energy provides improved indoor air quality, avoid arduous trips to collect firewood, creating a time-saving initiative with socio-environmental benefits.