10 Takeaways from SOCAP 2022

SOCAP Global, 2022

In October I was fortunate enough to attend SOCAP in San Francisco, a convention of the world’s largest and most diverse impact investing community. Investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders came together to accelerate progress against the world’s toughest challenges through market-based solutions.

It kicked off with an interesting debate around ESG and many other lively discussions ensued. Some of our takeaways from the event included the following:

  1. When it comes to ESG and social impact, part of the public and private sectors respectively, these two areas are moving toward each other and converging. There is much to learn from both of these areas.
  2. The extractive economy is winding down and the regenerative economy is just winding up. Capital is flowing to ESG-safe companies.
  3. Investors are starting to look at more than just ESG scoring and targets, they are moving beyond to understand the full context of ESG.
  4. Social will be the next big focus after the environment.
  5. You can’t have environmental action without social action. When investing in climate change or decarbonizing, there are social aspects directly attached to those changes that will need to be addressed and held accountable for. The social side includes the new jobs that will be created and the sustainability of these jobs. You need to have a sustainable economy to have climate solutions, as a sustainable economy stops the extraction of precious resources. This is the Social in the environmental crisis.
  6. It’s important to remember that ESG is accounting for risk and compliance, and this is very different from measuring impact. It’s also not an investing strategy.
  7. A question we have been thinking about since SOCAP’s opening plenary session is: How do you decolonize data?
  8. ESG is starting to focus on system-level investing, meaning, how do we solve the bigger structural and institutional issues by mobilizing significant amounts of capital?
  9. A question that we pondered during SOCAP was: how do we get access to good data — fast — and analyze it in real time? The truth is data is only ever really a sampling of reality.
  10. One question asked of us was, “who is visible to you at SOCAP in San Francisco and who is not visible to you?” The contrast, at SOCAP, between those sleeping rough on the streets of San Francisco and those who had the privilege to talk about mobilizing capital for social good, was stark. The coalition between these two groups is essential, and a lack of visibility can create misunderstanding, which leads to harmful misperception, which in turn can lead to an inability to address root causes.

We were grateful for the opportunity to attend SOCAP, the many connections made, and the lessons learned. Going forward, we will continue to focus on the questions that were asked of us, and will keep developing the Riddl platform and working with our clients to drive true impact.

Tell us, if you were at SOCAP this year, what were your key takeaways?

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