Investing in impact companies pay off

Agriculture startups, Israel, agtech, flux, Eddy
Illustrative photo of an agricultural field in Israel, May 2013 (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

I am often invited to go and lecture to groups visiting Israel. They like the vision of my startup, using military applications and plant research from Israel to change the face of our food production. For me it’s a personal mission, impact at its very core. Sustainability isn’t a faraway office in the basement of our company. It’s what we do.

People are going down a slippery slope by the way we cultivate fresh food, outsourcing it to people and countries who are willing to do the hard labor, but this comes at a price.

Often is the case that these export farmers have lax or different standards in the way the food and farmers are treated. Chemicals outlawed in your country, may be just okay in another. Farm workers are usually not wearing the right protective clothing, leading to chronic illnesses. Those testing the food at borders don’t have the tools and manpower to test deeply. Only basic inspections are made.

Investing in companies and people that drive better food production, or any sustainable solution or effort for that matter, pays off in the long run, according to industry insiders at Goldman Sachs. American companies, they report, that focus on sustainability initiatives and hiring diversity, including women, outperform companies that don’t add these issues to their agenda and boardroom.

Some stock markets and publicly traded companies around the world get reports on their sustainability practices, like the FTSE 100 –– one of the most important stock exchanges in London and similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the US. This report by Carbon Clear released at the end of 2016, shows the public just how stable financially and environmentally the FTSE 100 is, a guideline for future investors –– private or public –– as to where they should put their money. Invest in the ones that care!

Currently, you have to do your own research if you want to invest in a publicly-traded impact company from Israel. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE)  isn’t that large, so it’s not hard to find companies in renewable energy, like solar, on the exchange.

If I had a shekel from every person who said they’d love to help save the world, but don’t know how…well, the same inner voice that tells you to recycle or live more modestly, should be put in practice in how you save your hard earned money. You might not be able to invest in a startup like mine as it can be risky and it’s a longer play, but look at the company’s sustainability practices. We can drive them to improve.

Sometimes it’s out of our control if we invest safely and work with an agent who spreads our investment over many funds and stocks, but it could also be a marketing spin for brokers: test your future clients by asking them if investing in companies with sustainability in mind is something they’d support. You might be surprised. This is how we change the world.

About the Author
Karin Kloosterman is the founder of flux, a technology company building Internet of Things hardware and artificial intelligence intelligence for the earth. Their first product is Eddy, a robot that makes it easy for anyone to grow tasty food at home. See www.growwitheddy.com or contact Karin: karin@fluxiot.com
Comments