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LISC Is Part of the Sustainability Story on Wall Street

An article in ImpactAlpha features Morgan Stanley’s chief sustainability officer and LISC board member Audrey Choi describing the “tremendous growth opportunities” in social impact investment. LISC’s recent, first-of-its-kind bond offering, underwritten by Morgan Stanley, is a prime example of how benefit to the community can benefit business, too.

The excerpt below is from:
Spreading the sustainability story on Wall Street
by David Bank, Impact Alpha

After taking a look at Morgan Stanley’s new index for inclusive investment opportunities, we wondered to what extent the bank itself uses such tools. More than you might expect, Audrey Choi, Morgan Stanley’s chief sustainability officer and chief marketing officer, told ImpactAlpha.

“When you say the word inequality and investment in the same sentence, people have hard time reconciling them,” says Choi. But she sees “tremendous growth opportunities” in tech-driven solutions in healthcare or financial services that promote gender equity and access to credit for low-income people.

“Then you get into a virtuous cycle, where the benefit to the community is a benefit to the business,” she says.

Those kind of insights are spreading inside the bank. Morgan Stanley recently raised $125 million for its Integro fund of funds, which among other opportunities is targeting financial inclusion in the Andean region and sustainable food production in Africa.

Morgan Stanley’s equity analysts have downgraded stock ratings on ESG (for environmental, social and governance) factors, such as rising concerns over access to water, which could slow permitting for plant expansion. “The water issue is actually a cap-ex (capital expenditure) consideration,” Choi says.

Morgan Stanley underwrote the first-of-its-kind bond offering by the Local Initiatives Support Corp., which raised $100 million for the community development financial institution, as well as last year’s corporate sustainability bond from Starbucks. Continued[+]...