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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2021 PROFILE

EcoEnterprises Fund

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 15 – Life on Land
Natural Resources and Conservation
Sustainable Agriculture
Small/Medium Business Development

Firm Overview

Category: Mezzanine Finance

EcoEnterprises Fund is a pioneer in the impact investing space that has nurtured innovative sustainable businesses across Latin America for over two decades. We have a unique investment strategy: investing long-term growth capital concurrent with hands-on advisory and other value-added services to help scale community-based businesses that contribute to biodiversity conservation, the mitigation of climate risks, and the creation of long-term economic opportunities for local peoples. To date, EcoEnterprises Fund has invested in over 40 ventures in 11 countries in the region. The women-owned and managed Fund launched EcoEnterprises Partners III, LP, the third fund under management, in 2018. 

Firm Headquarters: Western Europe
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25% – 49%
Investment Thesis:

EcoEnterprises Fund builds “portfolios for the planet” and fills a void in the capital markets by making tailored mezzanine capital available for innovative nature-based companies in Latin America that achieve solid financial returns alongside transformative environmental and social impacts.

Investment Overview:

In Latin America, one of the world’s most biologically-rich regions, representing nearly 40% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity, there is a significant burden on fragile ecosystems and critical natural resources due to unsustainable agricultural methods, deforestation and harmful business practices. EcoEnterprises Fund has found that successful regenerative business models which create value from biodiversity while concurrently addressing the needs of rural communities are crucial to building economic resilience, tackling the global climate crisis and ensuring planetary health. By providing tailored growth capital and hands-on engagement to expanding nature-based businesses in organic agriculture, agroforestry, sustainable aquaculture, circular economies, agri-tech, etc., the Fund’s portfolio leads by example. The companies pave the way for future sustainable progress for the region. Impact and returns are maximized by leveraging the Fund’s broad network of partners, as well as its expert investment and risk mitigation strategies developed and tested over two decades.

Company Differentiator:

Given our expertise and track record, with one of the longest tenures working in Latin America, we have a truly distinctive venture approach for nature-based businesses. We focus on building deep partnerships with portfolio companies to underwrite growth and combine it with value-added services. We have high-touch working relationships that adapt to a company’s trajectory, bringing in resources and talent to ensure solid execution in line with financial, environmental and social KPIs. We are a women-owned and managed firm working as a team and with our stakeholders and deep network for twenty years. This consistency together with developed systems and tools to support the investment and impact processes is a significant asset. Our diverse international investors, many of whom have participated in all three funds, seek us out for our track record and to be involved as co-financiers and/or on our Investment and Impact Committees. 

Investment Example

Sambazon is a first mover in organic and Fair Trade certified sustainable harvested açaí-based products from Brazil, which it introduced into the U.S. market almost two decades ago. EcoEnterprises Fund has served as a long-term partner to this company, providing start-up capital in the early years and then growth capital to today. From protecting the biodiversity of more than 2.5 million acres of critical Amazonian rainforest, to creating thousands of jobs for growers, cooperative members, boat operators, factory workers and local processors, Sambazon serves as an activist to truly drive environmental conservation and local economic gains, objectives that are even more imperative at present. Aligning with the Fund’s investment thesis of creating successful, sustainable businesses that represent models for replication, Sambazon serves as a much-needed example of impactful performance with financial results. 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Tammy E. Newmark – Managing Partner & CEO More Info

A leader in impact investing, Tammy Newmark has over thirty years of experience in the field. Newmark launched EcoEnterprises Partners II, LP in 2012 under EcoEnterprises Capital Management, LLC in which she is a partner. She served as President of Fondo EcoEmpresas, S.A., EcoEnterprises Fund’s first fund under management, for The Nature Conservancy from 1998 to 2010. Newmark directed Technoserve, Inc.’s environmental business advisory services in Latin America and Africa.

Michele Pena – Managing Partner and COO More Info

Michele Pena has been part of the EcoEnterprises Fund’s senior team since 2001, managing all operational, business development and monitoring and evaluation functions. She now serves as Chief Operating Officer. Pena launched EcoEnterprises Partners II, LP in 2012 under EcoEnterprises Capital Management, LLC in which she is a partner. Pena brought organizational and marketing expertise to EcoEnterprises Fund from her position as Program Director at the Climate Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on global climate change issues.

Oksana Aguilar – Managing Director, Environmental & Social Officer/Compliance and Operations More Info

With over seventeen years’ experience, Oksana Aguilar has served in various financial management functions. For five years, she served as Investment Monitoring Officer for Fondo EcoEmpresas, S.A., EcoEnterprises Fund’s first fund under management and rejoined the team in 2012 to serve as Financial Controller for EcoEnterprises Partners II, LP. Prior to this present position, she was Finance and Administration Director for World Wildlife Fund’s Central America Program Office in Costa Rica. She also held the position of Finance Specialist at The Nature Conservancy and worked in the comptroller’s office in IUCN’s Mesoamerican Office. Aguilar holds an MBA with emphasis in banking and finance from the University of Costa Rica.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
Less than 25%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Quarterly

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Alleviating poverty
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Creating jobs
Addressing Gender Inequality
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing Racial Inequality
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Other: Training in environmental and social best practices and certification regimes

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

The Fund systematically screens for companies that actively promote the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the biodiversity they source from, including community organizations and indigenous peoples as stakeholders. Our portfolio companies partner with rural communities and adhere to ethical sourcing and fair trading principles, which we enhance via our partnership with the Union for Ethical Biotrade, creating much-needed long-term jobs and fair income opportunities. Promotion of gender equality is intentionally targeted through the Fund’s commitment to the 2X Challenge, with a pledged investment amount dedicated to women-owned and managed businesses. A rigorous environmental analysis is undertaken for every investment including the application of our tested impact metrics and risk rating tools in cooperation with external specialists as part of our Environmental and Social Management System. A highly qualified Impact Committee supports the team and portfolio companies on items that are identified, monitored, and improved over time.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Employing best practices in social and environmental sustainability both internally and externally is a critical requirement to be included in EcoEnterprises Fund's portfolio. Each investment is accompanied by an Environmental & Social Action Plan to enhance results. Metrics pertaining to best practices in governance, diversity, community engagement, waste, energy usage and others are included in the Fund's Impact Metric Guidelines used during due diligence and subsequent monitoring. Most of the companies the Fund targets pursue certifications such as Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, Global G.A.P, and U.S. or European organic labels. Several of the Fund's portfolio companies also help local suppliers to receive certification, establish ethical sourcing regimes and/or have fair-sharing of benefits, thereby expanding their impact. The Fund continuously encourages and supports its companies in these efforts on an advisory level, through targeted technical assistance and/or through participation as a Board member or observer. 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Tammy Newmark
Phone: 802-349-4998
Mailing Address:

5614 Connecticut Avenue, NW #135, Washington, D.C. 20015 USA

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