What Impact Investor Nancy Pfund Is Thinking About

August 5, 2019

Nan­cy Pfund, founder and man­ag­ing direc­tor of DBL Part­ners, is a trail­blaz­er in impact invest­ing. Her firm’s phi­los­o­phy is right in the name: DBL stands for Dou­ble Bot­tom Line, refer­ring to its strat­e­gy of com­bin­ing com­pet­i­tive finan­cial returns with enabling social, envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits.

DBL port­fo­lio com­pa­nies include some of the biggest names in clean­tech — from SolarCi­ty to Tes­la and Advanced Micro­grid Solu­tions. It’s no won­der Pfund has land­ed on lists of influ­encers, from the inau­gur­al VERGE Van­guard to Fortune’s World’s Top 25 Eco-Inno­va­tors and Fast Company’s 2016 List of Most Cre­ative Peo­ple in Busi­ness. I’m also proud to have her on my team as an advis­er this year to VERGE Ener­gy.

As DBL looks for oppor­tu­ni­ties to tran­si­tion the world to a low-car­bon econ­o­my, I had a chance to chat with Pfund to dis­cuss where she thinks the next big break­throughs and solu­tions will be. Her think­ing spans the gamut of sec­tors, stitch­ing togeth­er agri­cul­ture to draw down car­bon and ways to decar­bonize trans­porta­tion (which hap­pi­ly tracks with the four con­fer­ences with­in the larg­er VERGE event). The fol­low­ing are excerpts from that con­ver­sa­tion, edit­ed for length and clar­i­ty.

Sarah Gold­en: What are you most excit­ed about right now?

Nan­cy Pfund: I’m excit­ed about the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of every­thing and how we’re turn­ing appli­ances depen­dent on nat­ur­al gas into elec­tric ver­sions.

Also find­ing ways to mon­e­tize con­ser­va­tion and for­est pro­tec­tion as invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. A few years ago, we did a big invest­ment in this space with Bet­ter Place Forests, which mon­e­tizes forests with cre­mat­ed remains. You buy a tree in a for­est as a way of cre­at­ing a land trust to hon­or the lega­cy of your loved one. It came out of stealth last month and land­ed on the front page of the NYT Style sec­tion.

Gold­en: What break­throughs are on the hori­zon?

Pfund: The emer­gence of space tools for imag­ing and map­ping for cli­mate pur­pos­es. Satel­lites are able to image the earth on a dai­ly basis and pro­vide more data about what’s going on across the plan­et.

Also the role of big data and its appli­ca­tions in terms of farm­ing and organ­ic farm­ing. Big data can enable us to under­stand where organ­ic farm­ing could be ben­e­fi­cial to the farmer and the cli­mate, as well as help tra­di­tion­al farm­ers increase their earn­ings poten­tial through more trans­paren­cy and data-based deci­sion mak­ing. Our port­fo­lio com­pa­ny, Farm­ers Busi­ness Net­work, is pio­neer­ing this and build­ing a very scal­able plat­form.

To read the full arti­cle, vis­it https://​www​.green​biz​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​w​h​a​t​-​i​m​p​a​c​t​-​i​n​v​e​s​t​o​r​-​n​a​n​c​y​-​p​f​u​n​d​-​t​h​i​n​k​i​n​g​-​a​b​out