Ibrahim AlHusseini is setting out to revolutionize the field of social impact.
AlHusseini is a serial entrepreneur and investor who launched his first company out of his University of Washington dorm room and soon made millions. Since then, he has financed impact ventures tackling issues ranging from women's empowerment to ecological sustainability, raising half a billion dollars in impact-focused capital.
As an avid scuba diver, AlHusseini saw the rapid deterioration of our oceans and thus chose to focus his professional and philanthropic life on enterprises that address climate change, specifically, transitioning the world to a low-carbon economy. As the Managing Partner of FullCycle Energy, a series of waste-to-energy funds that are accelerating the adoption of the world's leading waste-to-value technology, he has done just that. Synova Power, the technology provider backed by both AlHusseini and others, addresses both growth in waste production and increasing demand for energy. Synova's technology generates electricity from waste more cleanly and efficiently than conventional waste-to-energy solutions.
But AlHusseini isn't stopping there. Through his latest iteration of FullCycle, his goal is to create a platform to democratize climate restoration investments. Since climate change impacts everyone, his goal is to give access to impactful investments to a growing network of everyday "citizen-investors" from across the socio-economic spectrum. He believes that profitably financing the solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time is something we should all target together.
"One company can do great work -- but that's just not enough in the face of the urgent challenges our world faces. I'm focused on thinking beyond one person or company, and actually transforming the global community's approach to social impact," he explained.
There is currently a $2.5 trillion financing gap that needs to be filled to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, such as tackling climate change. AlHusseini thinks that by harnessing the power of Main Street investors, we can start to close the gap and positively affect the growing wealth divide.
"For social impact to really make it to the next level, we need everyone to get involved, not just the institutional investors," he explained. "In fact, I'm convinced that the only way to tackle the greatest challenges of our time, especially climate change, will be to engage normal everyday people as investors. If we can deploy small amounts of capital on a huge scale, we can make the create so much more impact than government or institutional investors alone."
Today, about three-quarters of Americans know nothing about social impact funds, with just ten percent reporting they have invested in these funds. However, millions are interested in investing in social impact ventures -- young people, in particular. And at the same time, more Americans than ever are interested in taking action to tackle the climate crisis.
For years, AlHusseini has traveled around the world speaking about this new model of social impact, presenting at the United Nations, the Vatican, the Social Good Summit, The World Economic Forum, INSEAD and more. Now, he's laying the groundwork for new vehicles to engage smaller investors in climate-focused social impact investment.
"Think about the analogy of politics," he explained. "Politicians like Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders were able to do the impossible and raise so much money because they changed the game, transitioning from big money to small donors. We need to create similar channels for everyday investors to get involved and invested in social impact ventures, like climate change."
"I've heard from so many people who say things like, 'I don't have a lot of money to invest, but I want to know my investments are aligned with my values. I want to make money while also creating positive change in the world.' He continues, "Around the world, there is so much energy and interest in social impact, but the channels for doing so haven't been properly set up or popularized. That's my goal for 2019 and beyond: to create more opportunities for all who care about the earth, our common home, to express that care in a profitable and pragmatic way. Inclusivity, cooperation and partnership are the only way to meet the tight timelines our planet is facing."
Read more about Ibrahim AlHusseini and FullCycle here.
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