Walden Gathering: Impact Investing

Investing for a better future FOR ALL


What we Invest in today will Yield the world we will live in tomorrow.


Profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. As the concept of impact investing gains wider traction, more people are beginning to realize that the best financial opportunities are often those with a corresponding social benefit.

Just as the formation of the venture capital industry ushered a new approach and mindset toward funding innovation within the private sector, impact investment has started to bring opportunities to harness entrepreneurship and capital markets to drive social improvement. This in time will bring much needed change to the social sector.

Addressing climate change will require massive flows of capital toward sustainable and impact investments. While estimates of capital required vary, consensus is that several trillion dollars a year will be necessary to prevent exceeding the 2O Celsius temperature increase laid out in the Paris Agreement.

How We Will Fund the End to Climate Change

Asset Allocation: Choose to invest in less carbon intensive sectors

Stock Selection: Choose to invest in the lower carbon footprint within sectors

Invest in Innovation and Ambition: Choose companies that have set ambitious goals in reducing carbon and are engaging in rigorous and innovative methods to lower their footprint, even if they are currently carbon-inefficient

Shareholder Engagement: Encourage long-terms gains over time with carbon-inefficient companies

Abstaining: Choosing not to support what isn't working is still an important tool and impact investors will choose not to invest unless there are positive impacts that can be definitively quantified. The impact investor takes the impact on the world as seriously as they do on finances.


Why Gather?



With impact investing, we’re able to do more than simply avoiding companies who do not share our values, we can fund solutions.


Holistic & transparent balance sheets to consider the externalities at the producer and consumer levels

Educate consumers and future creators

Promote an Eco-Centric community & Marketplace


Working Together

A commitment to measuring social and environmental performance, with the same rigor as that applied to financial performance.

We started the day with a rigorous networking hike around the Walden property. A steady uphill climb among the leafy coastal oaks, let us breathe and introduce ourselves in a relaxed style as a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields joined the discussions.


setting the tone through INTRODUCTIONS

Where are you focusing your efforts now?


Being there for everyone

Connecting with the audience by doing what I want to be.

Finding life/work balance

The worst thing to happen is when you see freedom but cannot have it yourself

Living in the now

Focusing more on relationships


listening for the earth for GUIDANCE to the future

Learning to live as if I could die tomorrow or live the next 100 years

Making sustainability better for investors

The next Dalai Lama is going to be a community

Scaling People and their ideas

Impact investing has become a broad umbrella that includes all investing with a focus on both financial return and social impact, but in its best form, impact investing prioritizes impact over returns and achieves outcomes that traditional investing cannot.
— Jacqueline Novogratz

Gathering Discussions

“We use a design-thinking format around the table, walking discussions on nature trails, and guided meditation to inspire the group to solve big problems. Instead of the hyper-intense networking of your typical conference, participants spend the entire day outside with a carefully curated small and diverse group of people.”

After the Gathering intro, members presented current issues, focused on:

  • Investing to make an impact on the environment

  • Nature as a Catalyst to Change

  • Forming Community to Scale Change

  • Creating Solutions for the Next Generation’s biggest Problem

During these discussions, participants break up into groups to increase contributions and engagement. Topics are addressed, opinions are shared and summaries are presented to all.

Key Themes

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How do We Impact the World?


Key Takeaways from Discussions

Call bullshit on all talk no action

Consumption is the driver to change

Make change and support change

Find the Northstar

Fix the system

Subsidize until fixed

Zero marginal costs are a problem for utility companies today.

The problem is getting bigger

Time is our greatest investment

Geo-engineering is another option.

Need to do the hard things

The future needs more Elon Musks -  STEM Education

Use spirituality to create a focus on loving the earth.

Rethinking money and return -  use externalities in the equation

Carbon trading was a start not a solution.

Think big

Need to find ways for each of us to help others adopt solutions.

Starts with a personal comitment.

Tesla is just a means to get more batteries into the world.


Impacting our local world through technology and regulation

Shining Light on the Golden State's Environmental Problems


California has unfortunately dealt with devastating climate-related effects in the form of wildfires and droughts. Fortunately, state lawmakers have been among the most active in the nation in terms of protecting the local environment.

The most recent example of this is the "Solar Bill of Rights," a bipartisan effort that makes it easier and more affordable to install solar panels and other forms of clean energy. Homeowners who install solar panels would be compensated for their contribution to the state's energy grid.

The idea behind the bill is simple: Sunshine is one of California's most abundant natural resources, so it makes sense to harness its power to lower dependency on fossil fuels. As solar panel adoption rises, the state's energy consumption becomes cleaner.

The state may push this idea even further: One bill currently in the state legislature would require all newly constructed homes built after 2020 to have solar panels.

We can start impacting the world as a whole by focusing on our local communities where our voices can be more readily heard.

You could look at nature as being like a catalog of products, and all of those have benefited from a 3.8 billion year research and development period. And given that level of investment, it makes sense to use it.
— Michael Pawlyn
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How do we use Nature as inspiration?


Key Takeaways from Discussions

Nature is community

We are all part of the community of earth dwellers.

Nature teaches renewal, we need to listen.

We need to care for our home as a community.

Buddhist - I pray for you and everyone.

Block chain for a representative global government

Leading from the imagined future.


Someone has to stand up and support the Ends justify the means.


Like Nature We Must Evolve

Why Turning Sand into Ice is the New Lemons into Lemonade

As the twin impacts of climate change and globalization are more keenly felt worldwide, inventors, investors and lawmakers are looking at novel approaches to create economic benefits in a sustainable fashion.

Perhaps nowhere are these pressures felt more acutely than in Greenland. The country's massive network of glaciers is melting at the fastest rate in 350 years, creating significant stress on the environment and endangering the local economy, which is largely based on fishing and tourism.

There is, however, at least one potential upside in this enormous loss of sea ice: The exposure of highly valuable sand reserves. Though it is little discussed, there is a global shortage of sand. As Greenland's glaciers retreat, enormous sand bars are being revealed.

This sand can be mined and used in the global production of glass, computer parts and concrete. The potential economic benefits are substantial -- it's estimated that sand sales could generate more than $1 billion annually for Greenland -- or more than half the country's GDP. That would be a significant positive for a nation taking the brunt of the effects of global climate change -- provided the sand is safely and sustainably extracted and transported.

The Time is past when humankind thought it could selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now the world is not a commodity.
— Francois Hollande


Creating a community of problem solvers

Key Takeaways from Discussions

Earth is the spiritual center

Take a step inward toward others.

Perfection is the enemy of good.

Its about making progress

Practice - Rules/Rituals/Culture

The next generation can fix this if they are taught to care.


Working together

to not only avoid problems, but to create solutions


Historically, regulation and to a lesser extent, philanthropy, was an attempt to minimize the negative social consequences (unintended consequences, externalities) of business activities.

Towards the end of the twentieth century, a lot of responsible investing was relegated to simply abstaining from investing. In other words, divesting and boycotting in order to send the message that we would not support companies that were doing irreparable harm to the planet.

While divesting from the companies that are contributing to our problems is helpful, there are limits to the impact and actual solutions which doing so can provide.

With carbon at over 400 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time in millions of years, and still rising precipitously, we need solutions as we race to achieve the goals set out by the Paris Accords to not let overall global temperatures increase by more than 2° Celsius.

People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change
— Desmond Tutu - Archbishop Emeritus


Gathering Actions & Solutions



While ideas are shared throughout the day, we gather to create change.

In order to improve the world around us, we must not only speak about the issues at hand, but work towards solutions. The point of the discussions is to establish the framework for identifying and understanding the problems.

What follows, is most important.


Promote Community:


If everyone does one thing it will make a big difference

Lead by example

Don’t worry about perfection just be better.

Put into practice: Rules/Rituals/Culture

Be present and listen to others

Teach the next generation:


Earth Focused Consumerism

STEAM - to solve the problem

Community -  We are ALL one

Earth as spiritual North Star

Actionable Solutions

Stickers that promote eco-centric consumerism

Contemplative Leadership labs for the next generation

#TEF -  Total Enviro Fail


Certification process to educate consumers

Promote Better earth influencers

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Create Future


The group at the end of the day was most passionate about the establishment of programs to share the importance of working with purpose, with the goal of increasing the amount of “Future Leaders” within our communities.

Big Picture

Whatever the ultimate solution to climate change turns out to be, one thing is certain, it will take a large amount of capital. And so it is necessary that the world of finance take notice. It's been five years since Sir Ronald Cohen declared that “social impact investing is the new venture capital,” and five years later the numbers back him up, with a projection of up to $500 billion invested in assets in the impact investing industry.

From realized success stories to the Climate Investing Track now offered by GIIN that makes impactful investing to solve the problem of climate change more accessible, it's clear that this is a going to be a major part of the story of future finance. And by choosing to view all of the financial decisions we make in light of not just market trends but those trends that reflect the health of our planet and society, we are taking better control of both our financial and global future.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.
— Albert Einstein



We aim to bring together passionate individuals, groups and organizations to gather, learn and collaborate in small groups on how best to contribute and invest their time, talent and resources to innovative solutions -- and then take them back into the world.   We see everyone who joins as an equal expert at the table because we believe in the wisdom of the crowd to find solutions.

Chris Mion | Neil Cohn | Jonathan Beck | Liz becker| adam nelson| Allen paige |Alessandra Beck | Nick Jekogian


A poem by ALESSANDRA Beck about her day at the Walden GatherING

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