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Climate Solutions Investment Beyond Core Grantmaking

By Zachary Slobig - Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation is deeply committed to broad action against climate change, action that exceeds our core grantmaking through the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. The innovations and global consensus needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions and end our unsustainable reliance on fossil fuel exist. We operate with a solutions orientation, focusing our resources on opportunities across the globe where we can seed change and inspire others to act now. We believe that this crisis demands a multifaceted approach, from forging strategic media partnerships, to capital investment that bets on a future of sustainable energy.

Earlier this year, we launched a partnership with The Guardian looking at the impact of climate change on a local level in the U.S., and the emerging solutions pointing a way forward. After the hottest year in recorded history in 2016, and 8 floods considered once-in-500-year events, climate change is no longer some far-off threat to the U.S. It’s an everyday reality. This series looks at the entrepreneurs building solutions, legislators shaping policy, as well as the communities directly at risk. Journalism with a solutions oriented focus will only become more critical as the impacts of climate change deepen.

The Foundation has built an investment portfolio that reflects our attention to the threats that climate change pose to stability and prosperity.  We seek to align all our resources to advance our mission. This includes our invested capital. Working closely with Capricorn Investment Group (CIG), our investment manager, we’ve pursued a climate and energy investment strategy that we informally describe as divest, invest, and engage.

For several years we have eliminated direct investments in fossil fuel companies. In the long-term, we believe these businesses will underperform. At the same time, we leverage CIG’s expertise to invest in the disruptive technologies required to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. The Foundation is a member of the Ceres Investor Network. The Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk and Sustainability comprises more than 130 institutional investors, collectively managing more than $17 trillion in assets to advance leading investment practices, corporate engagement strategies, and policy solutions to build an equitable, sustainable global economy and planet.

We’ve walked the talk of social entrepreneurs such as Ceres and B Lab by adding our voices and identity to campaigns aimed at moving corporations and other investors to recognize the strategic importance of resource sustainability. We believe that thoughtfully invested capital is crucial to shifting the status quo around climate change.

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