Green Economy Capital Markets Plenary

Our Green Economy Plenary, which was moderated by SJF’s David Kirkpatrick, featured five capital markets leaders who offered a multitude of useful nuggets as we look to invest in the new green economy.  The panelists were: Andrew Kassoy, of B-Lab; Ariane van Buren, of Ceres; Mark Pinsky, of the Opportunity Finance Network; Kathleen Starr of the F.B. Heron Foundation; and Don Shaffer, of RSF Social Finance.

Here are just a few of the points and takeaways from the plenary:

Kassoy noted the need for social and environmental standards in the green marketplace.  He compared such a system to the LEED standards used for environmentally sustainable building practices.

Pinsky offered a glimpse into his group, which is a network of community development financial institutions across the United States.  He said there are 800 such CDFI’s in America today.  “We’re trying to figure out how to do better in the CDFI world,” he said.

Starr said there is a misconception that entities that are doing positive work with social impacts have to lose out financially in some way.  She said that’s certainly not the case.

Shaffer told attendees they should consider ending their bank accounts with organizations like Bank of America and Wells Fargo and invest in credit unions such as Self-Help that are more focused on social benefits.

Van Buren discussed how her organization, Ceres, helps investors and organizations promote sustainability.  She said Ceres works with state treasurers and individual state investment funds.

Panelists also encouraged Summit attendees to visit several Web sites to get more information about capital.  Here are some of those resources:, and