Jeffrey Levine
Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist

Israel – from Startup Nation to Impact Nation

This blog release is on the growing influence of Impact/ESG in Israel and the World and some highlights of the Israelimpactsummit hosted by Tech for Good and the announcement of  the formation of The Israeli Forum for Impact Economy

2020 Is the year of Covid19, but it is the year when the Startup Nation become the Scaleup Nation.  Suddenly there are 20+ Israeli unicorns (private companies with a valuation of more than $1 billion)

What has given rise to this is Innovation. Not only Innovation but Social Impact. I previously wrote a blog – Putting Customers first pays benefits on Market Caps.

These Companies are making a Global Impact. 2020 will be remembered for Covid19 but also the year Impact Investing, Impact Reporting, ESG, Climate Change became mainstream. Covid19 has highlighted the inequalities of people and the need to help the weaker elements of society.

I recently founded CFO-Israel a resource to help CEOs, Directors, and finance leaders. I coined the phrase Where Innovation meets ESG. ESG Is the acronym for Environment, Social, Governance.

This phrase is probably the most significant challenge facing Society today. Both Innovation and ESG challenge us as Individuals, as Governments, as Corporates and NGOs.

The concepts here and the growing Influence is vast. It seems everybody is talking about Innovation, ESG, and Climate Change.

Both Innovation and ESG are positive opportunities to change the world for the better. Covid19 has taught us co-operation. more caring, more sharing is the way forward. This is the new frontier.

For more info see  https://cfo-israel.com/insights/f/where-innovation-meets-esg—an-intro

In my Intro, I write how the UN sustainable development goals are gaining in importance as a key driver for Business Growth. In essence, we have the convergence of Innovation, ESG, Covid19 impact, and the UN Sustainable Goals which are four trends that are coming to together to create positive Change, Risk, and Opportunities to the way we interact and operate in today’s World.

ESG Investing and Reporting is now mainstream and a must for Companies to attract Investment. The UK recently passed a law making this Reporting compulsory for Public Companies. This has and will have a ripple effect down the supply chain and any Company wanting to do international business must embrace ESG principles. The emphasis is on the word embrace. ESG should not be seen as a burden, but as an opportunity for better business principles, helping the environment and society.

The Israel impact Summit Event  https://www.israelimpactsummit.com/lobby hosted by Tech for Good highlighted the common theme that Israel Innovation can make an Impact by sharing Its Innovation to make the world a better place. The truth is that Israel since its inception has been making an Impact from Climate Change – JNF Forestation /tree planting, Solar, Water and Agriculture, Biotech, and Tech for Good.

Omri Boral, Co/Founder & CEO at TechForGood is very optimistic about these events “which enables impact professionals and enthusiasts from different parts of the world to connect. It is especially meaningful in these days of COVID-19  limitations.

Social and environmental challenges become even more extreme due to the recent global crisis’ implication. This drives more and more organizations to search for innovative, scalable solutions to address them. We have no doubt that Israel, with its exceptional tech talent and entrepreneurial spirit, can play a meaningful role in developing such solutions, addressing these global challenges for the benefit of global society”

The key difference going is that every Company will need to define, measure and audit ESG Impact.

In Israel, Impact (ESG) Innovation will be being driven into core activities. Both Customers and Shareholders see extra Value in Impact and will interact with Companies who have embrace ESG principles. The ability to raise funds will be influenced by their ESG Rating. There are now a myriad of ESG Ratings by Bloomberg, Moody’s, Fitch, S&P, and more.

Even Countries are being measured by ESG, Climate Mitigation and in future will be measured by “GDP plus” which will also include Impact criteria.

Israel is fortunate to have a healthy Impact Eco System Led by Sir Ronald Cohen, the Father of Impact Reporting which is the force behind Israel Social Finance and now The Israeli Forum for Impact Economy which serves as the local Israeli national Advisory Board (NAB) within the international Global Steering Group (GSG). convene, catalyze and connect the Israeli impact ecosystem, we strive to accelerate an impact economy that will deliver social, environmental and economic value, and produce sustainable economic growth. Israel, as the hotbed for innovation and technology, offers unique value to the global impact economy, which is estimated at $30 trillion in ESG investing and more than $700 billion in impact investing. Now is the time to turn the Startup nation into the Impact nation.

Vanessa Kacherginsky,  the Chief Executive Officer at The Israeli Forum for Impact set out some of the Forum’s goals:

” We at the Israeli Forum for Impact Economy believe Israel has an important role to play within the global ecosystem and we should, sooner rather than later, harness our innovative thinking, our entrepreneurial spirit and tech ecosystem to make the transition from a startup nation to an Impact nation.

We could accomplish that by working closely with the GSG https://gsgii.org/   and it’s 32 NAB’s across the globe. I invite you to establish a partnership with us and help us scale our economy to become an impact economy, now more than ever is the time for national unity, to achieve a just and impact-led recovery to benefit all people and our planet.

Impact is going to be a way of attracting investment. Impact investment is now a fact. For example, Israel’s leading VC Pitango launched https://impact1st.com/ whose mission is

“Here at Impact First, we believe that impact investing in technology can lead to the most important solutions of our lifetimes. We strive to leave a better world for generations to come through critical investments today and do so by leveraging the immense power of business to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. By investing in high-tech companies that yield competitive financial returns alongside measurable social and environmental impact, our portfolio generates the greatest ROI of all: positive change for millions of lives today and infinite lives in the future.”

Cecile Blilious, Head of Impact and Sustainability at Pitango Venture Capital shared her ideas about Migration. Migrating existing operations to ESG. Companies should include in this as part of the conversation.  Many Israel Companies are already making an Impact. But now it needs to be highlighted, measured, and verified. My prediction is that most companies will have a Director or head of ESG just like there is a CFO.

In Conclusion, Where Innovation meets ESG is the new frontier. With Innovation and adopting ESG principles, there are many opportunities to enhance customer engagement and increase shareholder value while at the same time making a positive social impact

I have been for a number of years following developments in ESG with a specific focus on Social Impact and Corporate Governance which covers Risks and Opportunities. More recently, I am leading projects in Climate Change. Every Company needs to adopt practices to reduce its Carbon Footprint.

Having an ESG Advisor, ESG Director or Board Member with ESG Experience is now a must for every Company. I am currently able to offer my experience to Entrepreneurs and Companies by providing insights, Policies, and Solutions to the Risks and Opportunities described in this blog. Feel free to reach out to me at jeffrey@persofi.com.

I have also recently set up an initiative  www.cfo-israel.com.  CFO-Israel came about from my experiences as CFO in International Groups and the and the challenges of the Modern CFO and share ideas in new technology, efficiencies to increase productivity and help grow the company. This platform is now increasingly focusing on ESG.  This resource is for CEOs, Directors, CFOs, FDs, Controllers, and Finance Managers, BI Professionals to share ideas, technology, and business efficiency that are unique to Israel, Start-ups and SME’s doing business internationally, SAAS, online, B2B, B2C. Please feel free to share or contribute interesting ideas or tech and connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8938336/

For further Information on these Initiatives in Israel, please reach out to:

Omri Boral  – omri@techforgood.co   https://www.techforgood.co/

Vanessa Kacherginsky  – vanessa@israelnab.org   https://ifie.org.il/

Jeffrey Levine – jeffrey@persofi.com     https://cfo-israel.com/

Photo credits – all Images used with consent or publicly available

About the Author
Jeffrey is a Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist (we can only dream) living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and four grandchildren. Jeffrey provides Financial Services for regulated Financial Companies - CFO, Key Individual, Approved Person through www.persofi.com and is a promoter of ideas and trends where Innovation meets ESG. He is looking to spread the message of Ahavat Yisrael and Jewish Unity through the music and stories through www.souldoctorstories.com and blogging.
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