Our biggest stories from 2017
December 27, 2017
2017 was busy. A lot happened around here. If you haven't kept an eye on our monthly email updates, here's what you need to know.
The "Foundation" part of our old name—Calvert Foundation—created the misperception that we are focused on philanthropy rather than investments. In fall 2016 we began exploring (numerous) new name options, and weighing the strategic, cultural, and legal rationale for each. We ultimately decided on Calvert Impact Capital because it maintains the connection to our 22-year history of impact investing and signals our path forward.
The decision to rename was made in the context of our 2017–2019 strategic plan, which posits that two ecosystems have emerged within impact investing: one rooted in philanthropy and the other rooted in capital markets. Our infrastructure is built to tap traditional capital markets and our work is also firmly in that ecosystem; our new name better reflects this position.
In 2018 we'll be writing more about what we've learned as an impact investing practitioner. We hope to address challenges and opportunities in the industry and increase the capital markets' adoption of impact investing.
Our core operations are strong
At the end of Q3, our portfolio balance was $343 million, invested across 109 loans, to 97 borrowers. Though we can't make projections, the investments and risk teams are working hard to close as many investments as they can before December 31st, and we think it will be a record year. Check out the Q3 report for actual portfolio stats.
In the year-end crunch, Investments Officer Daniel Ford has resorted to taking investment tips from Songbae Lee's youngest (Unrelated: we've taken a long position on graham crackers).
Our portfolio of loans in environmental sustainability and renewable energy grew significantly this year. Notable investments in 2017 include eco.business fund, DC Water, Forest Carbon Partners, L.P., an anaerobic biodigester facility, the Honduras Renewable Energy Financing Facility, PosiGen, and MyStrongHome. We expect continued growth next year in these and other sectors.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and other dignitaries inaugurate the DC Water project.
Keeping pace with the growing portfolio, our investor relations team increased their outreach to investors and financial advisors. We hosted a webinar each month on a different topic in impact investing with the goal of educating new advisors about what we can offer.
And led by Saturna, Appleseed, Green Century, and others, we participated in Sustainable Investing Symposiums in Minneapolis, DC, Seattle, and Philadelphia. The aim is to show newer financial advisors how to practically incorporate sustainable investments into their practices. In 2018, we'll be in Los Angeles, Austin, Minneapolis, and a few other cities, so sign up for financial advisor updates for the latest.
Katherine St. Onge speaking with an advisor during an event in Denver.
We launched a Syndication service
For the MyStrongHome investment mentioned earlier, we syndicated a total of $8 million from MetLife, Pi Investments, the Libra Foundation, and our own capital; and the MacArthur Foundation provided a critical guaranty. MyStrongHome is one of several transactions completed through our Syndications service launched in May (initially called Capital Aggregation), that we think will increase efficiency both for organizations raising larger amounts of capital, and investors seeking more direct exposure to impact investments. Overall, Syndications achieved positive results in 2017, and we expect it to be a driver of growth in the coming years.
MyStrongHome is a unique construction company with a mission to protect homes and communities that are vulnerable to climate change effects along the U.S. south coast.
We're growing our gender lens investing
In May we celebrated the five-year anniversary of our gender equity work with a report from Sr. Investments Officer Najada Kumbuli after her visits to borrowers Pamiga, Off-Grid Electric, and SunFunder. Next year we plan to release a report on our five-year findings, and we created an investing framework for investors and advisors to incorporate gender criteria into their investment decisions.
Najada Kumbuli looks at 'Kazi na Zola', the solar energy kits being distributed in Tanzania through the support of our borrower Off Grid Electric.
We released an improved impact measurement framework and impact report
Capping off 2017, we published our Impact Report in November. The report introduces a new impact measurement framework, based on the three main pillars of Calvert Impact Capital's work: our investors, the investment portfolio, and the enterprises financed through our loans. This framework creates a more holistic picture of impact investing and the broader market effects of our efforts.
There you have it! Whether you're an investor, an advisor, a partner, or just a fan: thanks for a great year. We look forward to working with you in 2018. I'll leave you with some video clips of some of our investors talking about why they invest; you can watch all the clips on our investor voices page.