We sent our best and brightest to SOCAP 2017 to talk climate change: in the absence of political leadership, what solutions exist for entrepreneurs, investors, and other changemakers to make a difference?
Turning the tide on climate change is the most urgent challenge facing humanity. What we do in the next 50 years will determine the next 10,000 years of life on Earth. Not only do we need to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, but we must rapidly, and massively, draw carbon down from the atmosphere.
How? Land-use. Soil, forests, and coastal wetlands offer enormous carbon sinks that can stabilize and cool our precipitously warming planet. At SOCAP17 this week, we are talking about the best technology available for solving global warming: natural systems.
EFM co-founder and CEO Bettina von Hagen will moderate a woman-powered panel discussing how we can drive investments to scale climate-smart strategies that restore the land while lifting up communities. Joining Bettina will be:
Kat Taylor works in service of restoring social justice and environmental well-being. Kat is active in a variety of social enterprises, public benefit and philanthropic ventures on the West Coast. Currently, she serves as co-founder and co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
Kat is also a founding director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), dedicated to inspiring a sustainable food system through ranching, training, tours, research, and school food and garden programs. TKREF owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, humanely raising cattle and other livestock for the benefit of people and the planet.
Cory Carman moved back to her family’s hundred-year old cattle ranch in 2003 with a vision for creating markets to promote rural prosperity and ecological health. Starting with her own ranch she transitioned to 100% grassfed beef and began working with other families to do the same. She built a beef business based in Portland, Oregon, and with financing from impact investors, it has become the largest supply chain of true grassfed beef in the Northwest. Through this work, she constantly learns from farmers and ranchers about the possibilities and necessity for a much brighter future in agriculture and in rural America.
Amrita Vatsal is a managing director at EFM where for the last six years she has focused on growing impact investments in the sustainable forestry sector. In this time, she has helped to structure and deploy more than $75 million in public, philanthropic, and private capital into climate smart real asset investment opportunities. Prior to EFM, Amrita was an assistant manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Singapore, where she spent eight years working as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and developed a love for Chinese-Malay vegetarian food. Amrita is a Fellow of the Erb Institute and graduated from the University of Michigan with an MBA and an MS in Natural Resources.
Bettina von Hagen helped launch Ecotrust Forests and joined EFM as CEO in 2008. Bettina has spent the past 15 years working to promote economic viability, social equity, and environmental health in the Pacific Northwest with a particular focus on forestry. A former vice president of Ecotrust’s Natural Capital Fund and commercial banker, Bettina has over 20 years of experience in banking, impact investing, and fund management. She also has significant expertise in emerging markets in ecosystem services, particularly the forest carbon market, where she is involved in developing markets and protocols for high-quality forest carbon projects at the state, regional, and federal levels. Previously, Bettina was Vice President at Ecotrust for forestry programs and for the Natural Capital Fund, a fund which invests in key businesses and initiatives in the conservation economy. Prior to joining Ecotrust in 1993, she was a vice president and commercial lender at First Interstate Bank of Oregon. Bettina has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from the University of the Pacific. She currently serves on the boards of the Climate Trust, Forest Trends, and the VCS Association.