. Anne Field December 22, 2016.
What a difference a year makes, especially in the life of a startup. About a year ago, we met Salty Girl Seafood and Bureo, two fledgling social enterprises and winners of the Fish 2.0 business competition. Since then, both have expanded and, as often happens with startups, discovered opportunities in unexpected places.
Getting Investors Excited About Sustainable Seafood
November 9, 2016
Anyone who’s spent time in the sustainable seafood sector will tell you it’s a growing industry, full of creativity and innovation – one ripe for investments that will pay out in stronger economies and healthier oceans.
Impact investing for ocean ecosystems and users: Capital available, but projects needed!
October 3, 2016
For decades, the idea of ‘socially responsible investing’ meant little more than not including companies considered to have a negative social or environmental impact in an investment portfolio. Increasingly, investors are seeking to fund ventures or initiatives that actively achieve positive (and measurable) social or environmental results – while still generating financial returns. These “impact investments” can be made in both emerging and developed markets. And they can tolerate a range of returns, from below-market to above-market rates.
When you buy fish from the grocery store, it's not always clear exactly what you're getting. The industry is fragmented and murky, plagued by seafood fraud—when fishermen or processors take cheaper, lower quality fish and disguise or mislabel it to try and make more money. Don't count on regulators to catch this deception. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office took a hard look at the three agencies responsible for detecting seafood fraud, and concluded they were failing to "effectively collaborate with each other"—putting consumers' wallets and health at risk.
“Fish 2.0 accelerated our business to a fundamentally different level.” “It’s boosted the confidence and pride of board and staff in our business model, in addition to validating our model with current and potential funders.” “Winning Fish 2.0 was a huge event for our young company.”
Seventy percent of the earth’s surface is made of oceans, yet only 5 percent of this vast expanse has been explored — and far less than that protected. Businesses are waking up to untapped economic opportunities within these watery regions, which absorb 30 percent of the planet’s carbon emissions.
It wasn’t until Monica Jain was in her 20s that she fell in love with the sea, but it’s not her fault. A St. Louis, Missouri native, Jain studied biology at Stanford, thinking she would go to medical school. As a senior in need of extra credits, she took a scuba diving class, and made her first-ever dive in Monterey Bay near Lovers Point. “I was like, ‘Stop the press! There’s a whole world under here and no one told me!’” she says. “I was so upset.”
As conservation finance gains more traction among mainstream investors, discussions about how to evolve early-stage environmental marketplaces to provide more conventional investment opportunities have taken over the halls of conferences. Integrated capital funds may offer one solution.
The good news is that there's some good news. And that bad news is getting, well, less bad.
That’s one way to read this year's State of Green Business.
Our ninth annual report (download PDF), published today and produced in partnership with Trucost, continues our tradition of taking the pulse of corporate progress in sustainability, in the United States and around the world. It looks at both common measures (energy, waste and carbon) and some less-common ones (corporate reporting of natural capital profit or savings, for example, or companies’ low-carbon investments) over the past five years.
At SOCAP13, with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we focused almost 20% of our programming on investing in oceans, to raise awareness among the SOCAP community of the many ways that investors and entrepreneurs can improve ocean health through market-based solutions. Monica Jain is a leader within sustainable seafood who has continued building the marketplace for sustainable ocean solitons, at SOCAP and through the Fish 2.0 business competition.
ImpactAlpha.com-The hook is baited, and private-equity and venture-capital fund managers are reeling in capital to finance next-generation fish-farming enterprises across the country and around the world.
Do you value the ocean? Many would say they love it, relating memories of a deserved vacation, carefree summer times, or the taste of their favorite fish. But exactly how much do you value it?
MONTEREY, California -- Food is becoming the epicenter of the growing responsible investment movement in the San Francisco Bay area's Silicon Valley, panelists said during the impact investing discussion at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Food Institute last week.
When I started Fish 2.0, many investors, foundations, and even seafood experts said it would be difficult to get more than 50 entries in a competition for sustainable seafood businesses. They were not seeing many innovative seafood businesses, and they believed most of those they did see were not looking for investment. The inaugural competition in 2013 showed that assessment was off the mark: it drew 83 entries. This year’s application period, which closed April 27, shows that innovation in the seafood sector is positively surging: we received 170 entries, more than double the number in the previous field.
Fish is one of the healthiest foods, high in protein, vitamin D, and if it’s a cold deep water fish, like Pacific Salmon, the same compounds that keep fish blood circulating, Omega 3 fatty acids, can keep our own blood flowing too, lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, increasing world demand has led to 40 percent of the world’s fisheries being overfished resulting in more than $50 billion of global economic losses per year. Worse, the trend poses a profound threat to human food sources.
Three years ago, when I first started asking investors why they didn’t put more money into seafood ventures, many told me that there just weren’t enough strong businesses out there to warrant the time and energy of adding seafood to their portfolios. At the same time, seafood businesses complained that there were not enough interested investors out there. They said that without investment, new ventures were not worth building and existing ventures could not continue to grow.
CARMEL, CA – More than 15 corporate industry leaders, investors, and philanthropists, including Pentair, CEI, Google Oceans, and RSF Social Finance, joined together to launch the new Fish 2.0 business competition this week. Fish 2.0 connects investors with business leaders in fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood supply chains. It offers seafood businesses an opportunity to gain visibility, find strategic partners, and ultimately garner new investments in the range of $100,000 to over $10 million. The breadth of sponsors involved in this year’s competition reflects a growing interest in the seafood sector among investors with expertise in technology, supply chain operations, and food sectors systems. Both established companies and early stage enterprises can apply through the Fish 2.0 website (http://www.fish20.org).