Regeneration for Environmental funds in Latin America
Written by Laura Ortiz Montemayor
Our environmental and deeply linked social crisis cannot wait for us to understand how crucially urgent it is to unite our resources for regeneration. We are used to having one pocket of money to make more money no matter how much it destroys the world (usually 95% of our total portfolio) and another tiny pocket (usually 5%) to “save” the world. What is the probability of us EVER making a REAL contribution of value to the world with this separation paradigm, where 95% of our resources destroy or extract from the world and only 5% are used to regenerate the world? We need a new Unity paradigm, where every investment decision is a moral decision, because EVERY dollar counts in destroying, extracting from, transforming or regenerating the world.
This week we were honored to share the Regenerative approach to impact investing for the 19th RedLAC Assembly in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. All RedLAC members together administer 53 endowment funds that support over 900 protected environmental areas in Latin America and Caribbean regions. According to the Conservation Trust Investment Survey, the RedLAC forms a network of almost $1billion dollars in assets under management. From its establishment in 1999, the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC) has been dedicated to promote the interrelationships of Environmental Funds in the LAC region through capacity building and knowledge management initiatives that contribute to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
This week we had one of the biggest honors in our career at SVX Mexico, we spoke together with Lorenzo Rosenzweig, from Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, A.C. one of the biggest leaders of Regeneration for Latin America, Juan Etinger from J.P. Morgan one of the pioneer banks in Impact Investing, Katy Mathias from the Wildlife Conservation Society that did a fantastic study with the Conservation Finance Alliance and Wolfgang Doerr from Deutsche Bank at RED LAC-EE Assembly in Punta Cana.
We spoke about how sustainable investments can drive financial outperformance: Katy gave some very recent data on how environmental funds in Latin America are currently invested, Juan talked about the most recent data on sustainability and it’s link to profitability, Wolfgang shared some information about the ESG screening practices at DB wealth management portfolios and anecdotes about the evolution of client’s demands.
In our participation, we (SVX Mexico) shared a new paradigm of applying the Regenerative Impact investing approach, or holistic approach to environmental funds. This is the core thesis of our presentation:
In the current neoliberal education model of the western world we are taught of economics as a system based in scarcity; where individuals need to compete for resources; thus basing our decision making in our ego-centers or self-interest. For a new Economy of the Common Good we need to learn about the paradigm of UNITY where the economic system is based on abundance (because there ARE enough resources to cover the needs of everyone, but not enough to cover the wants of some) thus making individuals collaborate for resources and this would require a decision-making process based on our ECO-Centers or collective-interest. The paradigm of separation leads us to scarcity, environmental degradation and inequality for all using everlasting growth as a goal. The paradigm of Unity produces the consequence of abundance for all and shared prosperity using balance and wellbeing as THE goal.
Impact investing is a call for coherence, for investing our money with our values and with the mindset that every single dollar spent produces social and environmental consequences.
Lorenzo concluded our panel sharing a very touching metaphor (he read this metaphor in Simon Sinek’s book: Start With Why) on 2 masons that were both building brick walls: one very happy doing a magnificent job and the other one with a grumpy face doing a a very poor job. When the grumpy mason was asked what he was building, he started complaining about several things and said he was building a wall; when the second mason was asked what he was building, his eyes lit up, he said with a big smile: I am building a cathedral! So Lorenzo told us: “ We, collectively have the great mission of building a cathedral: the world’s environmental wealth.” — — Let’s invest accordingly!