Painting the Town Green: The SRI Conference to Explore How Impact Investors can Help Build "Sustainable Cities" | First Affirmative Financial Network

Posted by Tony Wolak | Jun 16, 2015 12:00:00 AM

How Do City Officials and Financial Professionals Attract Private Investors to Municipal Sustainability Projects? Denver and Palo Alto Sustainability Directors to Offer Insights.

COLORADO SPRINGS (June 16, 2015) - How can private investors help to "paint the town green" when it comes to building America's sustainable cities? That will be the focus of a major panel during The SRI Conference ( which is taking place November 3-5, 2015 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gil Friend, chief sustainability officer, Palo Alto, CA and Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer, Denver, CO will be joined on the panel by Erika Karp, founder and CEO, Cornerstone Capital Group, New York City.

One of today's hottest financial topics-Impact Investing-will be the focus of The SRI Conference, the nation's largest and longest running annual event for responsible investors and investment professionals.  The theme of the 26th annual SRI Conference - on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing is "All In For Impact."

Denver and Palo Alto are recognized as leaders among sustainable cities. Friend, Tinianow, and Karp will explore the challenges and opportunities around attracting private investors to municipal sustainability projects. Topics will include the explosion of green bonds, community-level performance-based contracting, social impact bonds, impact investing, and crowd funding. The session will bring conference attendees the latest information on what types of projects cities, due to their unique governmental powers, can offer to investors interested in promoting sustainability.

First Affirmative Financial Network President, Steve Schueth, said: "There are many ways that responsible investors can direct investment capital for positive impact, but among the most important are the sustainable investing opportunities in America's cities.  For investment professionals and those in attendance from the philanthropic world, this will be an excellent briefing on what is truly a cutting-edge topic."

The global trend towards urbanization is accelerating, as are both the challenges and opportunities. "More than half of the world's population now lives in towns and cities, and by 2030 this number will swell to about five billion," according to the United Nations.

The "Investing in Sustainable Cities" panel will look at climate and urban climatology, in terms of investments in renewable energy, the shift away from fossil fuels as the primary source of energy production, and how policy makers can encourage private investors to help green a city's economy. Rapid urban growth, resource constraints, and social inequity will also be discussed as areas for impact investors to focus private capital. The significance of major U.S. cities as an incubator for impact investing will be another central theme.

Denver city government reduced the energy intensity of city facilities to 5.6 percent below the 2011 baseline, earning it top marks from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy for energy efficiency in government buildings. Such efficiency improvements also contribute to improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Denver's achievements in energy efficiency go beyond its own city facilities. Denver has engaged over 7,000 households and businesses in the Denver Energy Challenge, and moved over 100 businesses through the more comprehensive Certifiably Green Denver initiative. Over 1,200 businesses have been provided advice on reducing energy and water use and waste, and over 800 have implemented specific actions. These programs have collectively saved over 27,900,000 kilowatt hours in electricity worth over $3.5 million, numbers that continue to grow as each week goes by. In addition, the City of Denver, in partnership with Denver Water, has total water consumption (not just per capita) at its lowest point in 40 years, despite rapid population growth during that period.

Some of the key strategies under evaluation for Palo Alto's pathway to a low-carbon-or no carbon-future include radical resource efficiency, comprehensive electrification ("fuel switching" from fossil fuels to carbon-neutral electricity), local renewable energy generation and distributed energy storage, rethinking mobility to provide more convenient transportation with less congestion, forthrightly facing water risk, bringing municipal operations-from facilities to fleets-in line with Council policy and community vision, and broadening city's focus from "sustainability"-a broad notion of "do no harm"-to "adaptation"-expanding the city's  capacity to respond and thrive in the face of shocks and stresses like drought and sea level rise-to "regeneration"-building the health and vitality and the ecosystems, both local and far-flung, that support it.

For additional information on The SRI Conference agenda, visit:


Now in its 26th year, The SRI Conference ( will take place November 3-5, 2015 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Leaders in the philanthropy and foundation worlds are invited to participate in the largest, longest-running annual meeting of responsible investors and investment professionals.  Early-bird registration is now open at or by contacting Krystala Kalil at 888-774-2663 or

Conference participation is open to investment professionals, institutional investors, and related organizations and individuals who are working to direct the flow of investment capital in more positive, healthy, transformative ways-toward the creation of a truly sustainable future. The conference experience features an outstanding series of educational sessions and a focused opportunity to network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, organizations, and industry leaders.


First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC ( is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offering investment consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious investors. First Affirmative produces The SRI Conference (


Patrick Mitchell at 703-276-3266 or

Written by Tony Wolak

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