Hundreds of kilometers out in the ocean, while the sun and moon dance on their orbits around our planet, broad and deep undulations form, known as Groundswell. These small, powerful cycles are caused by an often distant gale and seismic disturbance, resulting in rapid, spontaneous growth of rising waters. As groundswells continue to form, the phenomena builds momentum, re-enforced by a movement so united, so well-orchestrated, that as it approaches land it results in the spectacular tidal waves we witness from our shores.
The healthiest ecosystems in nature emerge when a fair and just equilibrium is reached, based on a collaborative, fairly distributed, and regenerative process. It is a culture that thrives on abundance, not scarcity.
The systemic social, environmental, and financial inequalities plaguing our world today have exacerbated. Whilst they have been institutionalized over hundreds of years, the understanding of these inequities accelerated during the pandemic and other worldly events that have occurred during these years — from forest fires to prolonged droughts that are becoming ferociously stronger and longer each year. From refugees fleeing war to children being separated from their families at the borders, or even killed at school; from the murder of George Floyd exposing police brutality and institutionalized racism, to the #metoo movement exposing the patriarchy in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. These issues, and many more like them, are no longer hiding beneath an illusory veil, and change is occurring.
Our financial system, however, is not evolving fast enough with this change. The way we finance companies is largely driven by profit-maximization models derived from the industrial age that assume zero-sum games as inevitable outcomes, and believe competition (not collaboration) builds economies. It is a structure that has been designed to oppress the most vulnerable in our societies, one that benefits from the aforementioned systemic inequalities.
On the other hand: Yes, companies are ramping up their efforts to operate more sustainably. Consumers and employees are demanding more transparency too. Investors are increasingly pursuing ESG integration in their decision-making, and new legislation continues to surface requiring companies to disclose their impact footprint. At the same time, impact measurement and reporting is expensive, complex and lacks the performance benchmarks and projections the financial industry enjoys.
So, with my co founders Dima and Julia, we asked ourselves the following:
Can we build an investment firm that is fundamentally, at its core, driven by impact? Can the success of its portfolio of companies and projects be defined in terms of their social and environmental performance, not just their return on investment? Can such an investment firm achieve long-term financial sustainability and even outperformance?
Our conviction is that the more companies embed social and environmental impact into their business models, the better their financial performance will be in the long run. And to support such companies, an entirely different approach to impact investing is necessary. This is why we decided to build Tidal Impact, with a long-term objective to become a scalable, impact metrics-driven, evergreen investment company catalyzing solutions to the world’s systemic challenges.
So we thought: why not, as in nature, build an ecosystem, a coalition, of like minded and like-hearted impact practitioners: be they entrepreneurs, family offices, corporate partners, institutional investors, artists, and academic experts. What if, like nature, we all collaborate and re-invest our efforts, so that together, as sharing stakeholders, we build the Impact Economy, an economy that is socially and environmentally conscious, where impact is compounded with long-term financial sustainability.
It starts with us, those who share the same values and aspirations to not just want to do well, but more importantly to do good. Who actually see impact as a conduit to long-term financial success. Who seek a system that prioritizes equity, diversity, justice, sustainability, and dignity to people and planet.
Let’s form more groundswells and build waves of positive impact into the future, together.