For people interested in impact investing—that is investing in assets that can potentially generate an attractive return as well as positive social or environmental impact—sustainable agriculture provides intriguing opportunities. Social impact investing in organic and sustainable farms can help slow the damage caused by destructive factory farming methods, while providing consumers with healthy, natural food. It’s an expanding focus of our impact investing initiative, and we’d like to share why we think it’s important and how to get involved.
The Problem with Unsustainable Agriculture
- One group of scientists estimated that up to one-third of agricultural land in the Upper Midwest had been stripped of fertile topsoil.1
- A global survey found that 20% of the world’s wells were at risk of going dry because of groundwater depletion.2
- Nutrient run-off from farmlands in the upper Mississippi region created an 8,776 square mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest ever measured.3
- Factory farming—especially of beef and milk—is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for more than 16% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.4
Sustainable Farming Explained
Impact Investing can Maintain and Expand Sustainable Agriculture
How to Become an Impact Investor in Sustainable Agriculture
1 “New Evidence Shows Fertile Soil Gone From Midwestern Farms,” NPR, February 24, 2021.
2 “Global groundwater wells at risk of running dry,” Science, April 2021.
3 “Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’ is the Largest ever Measured,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), August 2017.
4 “Emissions from Animal Agriculture—16.5% Is the New Minimum Figure,” Sustainability, June 2021.
5 “Organic farms produce same yields as conventional farms,” Cornell Chronicle, July 13, 2005.
6 “Organic food sales jump nearly 13% to record high in 2020,” Supermarket News, May 25, 2021
7 “Organic Food Is More Expensive, but Conventional Prices Are Catching Up,” Magnify Money, October 18, 2021.
8 “Organic certification linked to increased land value,” Agri-View, August 24, 2020.
About CCM. Colorado Capital Management (“CCM”) is a Registered Investment Advisor and a Certified B Corp. We provide fee-only portfolio management, financial planning and impact investing services.
Risk of Loss. The above material is not an offer to buy or sell securities. No investment process is free of risk—the types of investments referred to herein may lose some or all of their value. Past performance cannot be relied upon as being indicative of future results.
Reliability of Data. The information set forth herein has been obtained from sources which we believe to be reliable, but this data has not been independently verified and we cannot guarantee its accuracy. CCM shall not in any way be liable for claims and makes no expressed or implied representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided.
Acknowledgements. CCM wishes to thank Steven Ellis and Jennifer Kelly for their contributions to this article.