‘Impact Investing can be a powerful instrument of change.’ - Judith Rodin
Change is what we at The Good Tee aspire for. Change in the social, economic, and environmental spaces by employing ethical and sustainable business practices and by also educating people about the benefits of supporting such businesses. It’s never an easy journey especially for small organizations that strive to take small yet impactful steps keeping in mind not just the livelihood of their workers but also the impact they have on our planet. We might be called dreamers, but we’re not the only ones. There are many out there like us who dream of a better world, and what excites us is that there are people who believe in supporting our dreams. One such company that is supporting the dreams of many businesses making a positive impact is CoPeace, an impact investment company that is creating inclusive, socially impactful wealth for all people.
We not only had an opportunity to collaborate with CoPeace but also got to chat with Craig Jonas, the Founder and CEO of CoPeace who told us all about impact investing and how they work towards bringing about a change.
Can you tell us more about impact investing? How do you select for-profit, purpose-driven companies? Do you have any metrics to measure the good impact that these companies make?
Impact investing is the process of identifying, and then investing in, companies that are directly working to solve social and environmental problems such as the climate crisis and poverty. Impact investing is based on the principle of using the power of capital for the greater good. In addition, the impact investing space prioritizes – on equal terms — social and environmental impact, along with profitability.
CoPeace is extremely selective in choosing which impact-driven companies to invest in. First of all, CoPeace is only interested in companies that are actively addressing social and environmental problems as a core value of their businesses. We then utilize a rigorous screening process which provides a high level of financial sophistication in developing models through a series of qualitative and quantitative analyses. These include impact assessments, econometric forecasts, and industry-specific capital structure and growth strategies.
In terms of measuring the impact these companies make, we use industry established metrics, including GIIN and United Nations’ 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), as well as independent analyses on a case-by-case basis, to measure the impact of a company.
CoPeace has various services where the main goal is to have a positive impact. In addition, the business is a Certified B Corporation. What was the B Corp process like and why did you choose to become certified?
Becoming a Certified B Corp was a goal of CoPeace since inception, as it demonstrates our commitment to the planet and people, as well as providing our company with increased credibility and public awareness. Once the business was established as a Public Benefit Corporation, we applied for Pending B Corp status until we had a full year of history before applying for full certification. As an impact/ESG holding company, we are extremely unique. The B Corp assessment itself is geared more toward companies that produce goods or services, so it was a bit of the “square peg in round hole” dilemma. B Corp worked closely with us in order to understand our story, mission, and impact. After several weeks of the assessment process, we were thrilled to be granted full certification in 2019.
What has been your most impactful investment so far?
We are trying to find companies that are both socially and environmentally impactful, while providing a strong return. Our investment in Uncharted Power is a great example of our approach and holdings we seek to invest in. Started and led by an amazing woman, Jessica O. Matthews, we were introduced through some of our NBA contacts. Uncharted Power is a sustainable infrastructure company that is well positioned in our current world.
You have supported the idea that sports can bring cultures and people together and were one of the first American coaches to travel to South Africa post-apartheid. How was that experience?
I have had quite the zig-zag life to this point. I lived in India growing up and my parents were very social-justice-minded. Sport has provided me with a lot of cross-sector experiences in media, education, business operation, travel, event management, and leadership. I’ve always had a passion for bringing true impact to global sport, supporting the idea that sports can bring cultures and people closer together. Al McGuire, the former head coach at Marquette University, sent me to South Africa in 1993 to host basketball clinics for local youth, post-apartheid. It was a hopeful time in the country and the townships. Basketball was to be the new sport for the new South Africa and it was a deep privilege to be part of the process. As Nelson Mandela taught us, “sport has the power to change the world.”
So a little birdie told us that Copeace recently collaborated with The Good Tee (yay!) to make custom t-shirts for all the new investors. How did that collaboration happen, can you tell us what the t-shirts were for?
We were looking for a sustainable t-shirt company to custom-brand tees for us as gifts for our higher-level investors and our team. Our Chief Relationship Officer, Meg Masten, researched several companies and landed on The Good Tee as the best fit. As a fellow BCorp, we were drawn to the holistic approach of production and screenprinting - from sourcing the yarn and dye, to ensuring fair wages and work environments, down to the sustainable packaging. Once we did some actual product comparisons for quality, it was a no-brainer to partner with The Good Tee.
It’s heartwarming to know that there are people like Craig who have made it their mission to do good and support organizations who are addressing social and environmental problems in the world we live in today, transforming investment and using the power of capital for the greater good.
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