Impact investment opportunities
Interest in impact investing is surging. The Global Impact Investors Network1 estimates that there are now US$502 billion worth of assets in impact investing - a figure that has more than doubled over the past year.
We picked 6 impactful innovation opportunities, that should be on your radar.
1. Precision farming
To have any hope of feeding our planet’s population, farming practices must be as productive – and sustainable - as possible. Precision farming is all about reducing waste and maximizing productivity by gathering and analyzing data. Sensor technology and satellite imagery for example, scientifically observe, measure and respond to variations in crops between different fields. Keeping such a close eye on crops can significantly reduce the amount of nutrients and other inputs (like chemicals) used to grow crops and boost yields.
CRISPR is a gene-editing technology that's all about controlling the genes in the food that we grow. It’s a natural process of removing certain parts of DNA to control or remove unwanted traits. The cell’s genetic structure then repairs itself automatically, minus the targeted gene. CRISPR could have a radical impact by making crops more resistent to disease – which will boost yields.
3. Water infrastructure tech
The planet’s fresh water resources are increasingly stretched. We 're all conscious of this, but the need for infrastructure to support these resources is less talked about. This sector is fuelled by companies finding solutions that save water, treat water, or move water using less energy. Examples include equipment for leak detection; monitoring and analyzing water quality; and water pumping, irrigation, treatment, purification, heating and meterage.
Biotherapy (also called immunotherapy) technology is an alternative cancer treatment to traditional chemotherapy. Instead of using chemical substances, it uses living organisms or substances derived from them (or even lab-made versions of them) to fight against cancer cells. Biotherapy can also be used to treat immunodeficiency disorder and hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis.
5. Precision medicine
Impact investment opportunities don't just come from high growth potential start-ups but also from multinational pharmaceutical companies. Some of the large, well-established firms are working towards improving cancer treatment by predicting how cancerous cells will react to medicines. This can make for faster cures but also work towards reducing side effects. Demand for these drugs is growing, and as new drugs become available, shorter regulatory approval times may also come into force, making for a rapidly developing market.
6. New foods
Imagine what food could look like in the future. No-meat hamburgers; no-dairy cheese, eggs that don’t need chickens, even fish – all lab-produced, and with less strain on our natural resources. They 'll even help us contribute to lowering carbon emissions. A number of 'new food' producers are working on feeding this future world, a San Francisco based food manufacturing company that produces foods including its speciality egg substitute made from plant-based ingredients - 'a fluffy, savory breakfast protein made from mung beans'. The future of food – and the myriad of impact investing opportunities – not to mention some new ingredients on our breakfast table, starts here.