Did You Know You Can Invest Directly in Climate Solutions That Help People? - s11 ep45

Integrity Global Partners CEO Cheri Sugal Explains How Ordinary Investors Can Participate In Nature-Restoring Projects That Improve Health and Prosperity for People

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Devin: What is your superpower?

Cheri: I think my superpower is just compassion.

Integrity Global Partners CEO Cheri Sugal joined me to talk about the remarkable work she’s doing in some of the world’s lower-income countries to protect nature, support local people, improve health and fight climate change–all at once. Remarkably, ordinary investors can now participate with the potential for profit via Raise Green.

The fundamental model is for investors to buy carbon credits in the voluntary markets, providing capital for projects that reduce carbon emissions. Cheri’s work focuses on protecting nature, typically forests, from deforestation. The effort also drives economic benefits in the local community and often health benefits.

One project serves as a compelling example. The company helps people with portable cookstoves so owners cook outside and later store the stove inside. The stoves significantly reduce the wood needed to cook, reducing deforestation. Cooking outside improves the health of those cooking and those who live in the home, especially for women and children.

Furthermore, by reducing the time women spend looking for fuel wood, they benefit economically. Of course, reducing the use of firewood reduces deforestation, both protecting nature and fighting climate change.

This work isn’t marginal in the fight against climate change. “About a third of the problem of climate change can be solved with nature-based solutions,” Cheri says. “There is no path to 1.5 degrees [the goal set in Paris in 2015] if we don't invest in nature-based solutions–if we don't protect and restore forests.”

Unlike other forms of localized pollution, carbon is a global problem. “A ton of carbon emitted out of a smokestack somewhere in the global North has the same impact on the climate as a ton of carbon coming out of a forest that has been cut down.”

It is presently cheaper to protect forests than to eliminate all smokestacks. While we must do both as quickly as possible, by deploying capital to the projects with the greatest impact per dollar first, we get closer to our global carbon emissions goals faster.

Cheri says, “When that sort of marginal abatement cost is so high that they can do so a lot cheaper by investing in projects that reduce and remove carbon from the atmosphere in the global South, it just makes a lot more sense.”

Simply put, she says, “The solutions in the global South are more cost-effective.”

Critically, the technology for tracking the effectiveness of projects like the cookstoves has improved. Market participants don’t rely on estimates or projections. 

“We have the technology now to measure and monitor changes in forest degradation over time in a way that we couldn't before,” Cheri says. “We can do that from space, and we can do it at a much higher level of accuracy than we could in the past.”

Cheri approaches her work with her superpower, compassion, keeping her focused on the people she serves.

AI Episode Summary

1. Devin Thorpe, the host of the "Superpowers for Good" show, introduces his guest Cheri Sugal, CEO and founder of Integrity Global Partners.

2. Cheri discusses Integrity Global Partners' crowdfunding efforts on Raise Green for a large-scale landscape restoration project in Malawi aimed at aiding over 100,000 households and restoring natural ecosystems.

3. The project in Malawi includes agricultural land management and the distribution of cookstoves to local communities to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions as well as improve health and economic well-being.

4. The cookstoves provided are mobile, allowing for outdoor cooking, which has significant health benefits as it minimizes smoke inhalation in enclosed spaces.

5. The goal of Integrity Global Partners is to address the shortfall in funding for nature-based solutions and facilitate the flow of capital from developed countries to projects in the Global South through carbon markets and offsets.

6. Cheri stresses the importance of carbon markets, noting that investments in nature-based solutions in the Global South are cost-effective and essential for meeting climate goals.

7. Technological advancements have improved the accuracy and transparency of monitoring and measuring the impact of nature-based projects, resolving many past criticisms of carbon markets.

8. Cheri's superpower is compassion, which has been cultivated through her experiences working with remote communities worldwide, listening to their needs, and finding solutions that improve their livelihoods while addressing the nexus between climate change, poverty, and biodiversity loss.

9. Cheri emphasizes the importance of translating complex financial and carbon markets into terms that indigenous people and local communities can understand, fostering informed participation from these communities.

10. The interview concludes with Cheri providing information on how to find and support their crowdfunding initiative on the Raise Green website or through the Integrity Global Partners website.

If you feel that Cheri’s work deserves more attention, please share this post!


How to Develop Compassion As a Superpower

Cheri explained how she uses compassion as a superpower:

I've worked in more than 65 countries in really remote areas. I have interacted with people in the most remote parts of this planet–indigenous folks, local communities, women. 

I have a deep sense of compassion for the challenges that people face just surviving. For me, that's what motivates me is to find solutions that enable us to solve this nexus between climate change, poverty and biodiversity loss. 

We can do that by putting people at the center of that, by improving their lives, giving them a place in these solutions, partnering with them, making them part of the solution and improving their livelihoods. We solve so many problems that way.

She shared an example of how she has used compassion to customize a solution to a problem.

A lot of development work in the past has been about thinking about what people need and then bringing that to them. What I try to do is go and listen–really listen to what they need. 

In this last trip that you, you saw on the footage, that was us listening to those communities and hearing them. Some of the things we found out that they needed were different than what we could have imagined. 

They told us they needed distributed water. So, we're looking for solutions for that. 

Part of our crowdfund raise is to think about how we hear what they need and bring that into the project rather than taking what we think they need and providing that. I think an important part of this work is listening carefully.

Building on the idea of listening as a central part of using and building compassion, Cheri offered some advice, “We need to remember that we are all humans living on this earth.”

She concludes with this reminder, “Everyone so true deserves to have the same chance in life.”

By following Cheri’s example and advice, you can build your compassion. With practice, you may develop it into a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

Guest Profile

Cheri Sugal (she/her):

Chief Executive Officer, Integrity Global Partners 

About Integrity Global Partners: Integrity is a global development company helping to scale carbon and environmental markets by connecting capital to high-integrity, nature-based projects and programs in the Global South. We bring together our deep financial and carbon market expertise to develop risk-adjusted, nature-based portfolios for investors. We are trusted partners across the entire value chain, working with local stakeholders and communities to design projects that deliver measurable benefits and competitive returns for investors, all while reducing emissions and supporting local climate, nature and community initiatives. Integrity, fairness and transparency are at the heart of our business. Through our global, collaborative hub model, we partner with some of the best talent around the world to raise market standards and unlock fair and equitable capital at scale. 

Website: www.integrityglobalpartners.com

Raise Green: invest.raisegreen.com/offering/igp/details

Biographical Information: Cheri Sugal is a seasoned professional with over three decades of international experience, working hands-on in more than 65 countries alongside governments, corporations, NGOs, and local communities to protect and restore forests and create nature-based emission reductions.

Cheri has been a driving force in all facets of Nature-based Solutions (NbS), ranging from individual projects to jurisdictional-scale, government-led programs. During her tenure at Conservation International, Cheri spearheaded the establishment of the $100 million Global Conservation Fund, which is still being used today to create and establish long-term management of more than 100 million acres of wilderness-protected areas on a global scale. There, she pioneered some of the earliest efforts to co-finance forest protection by asking corporations to pay for the carbon stored in trees.

She then moved into the private sector as Director for Africa & Latin America at Terra Global Capital, one of the first companies to pioneer developing a fund to provide upfront financing to create new nature-based carbon programs in the Global South. There, she oversaw the development of numerous NbS projects in Tanzania, Malawi, Mexico, and Colombia that are successfully issuing carbon credits that are financing vital conservation initiatives.

Subsequently, as the leader of her own consulting business, Cheri served as the principal consultant on the creation of jurisdictional programs in Mexico, Cambodia, Guyana, and Zambia. These initiatives included advising the governments on the development of their national emission reduction programs and crafting the national level Benefit Sharing Plans to ensure international financing reached the communities living across these threatened landscapes.

Cheri also served as Head of Structured Carbon Finance at South Pole Carbon Asset Management, where she established and managed the firm's NbS investment practice and led a global financing mandate aimed at delivering 100 million tons of carbon credits.

She founded Integrity Global Partners one year ago, in collaboration with some of the foremost experts in NbS and structured finance, to operate as a global hub, facilitating large-scale capital deployment to forest carbon projects and jurisdictional programs within a framework characterized by the highest standards of integrity. This endeavor is particularly significant given the critical juncture in the market for sustainable solutions.

Personal Facebook Profile: fb.com/cherisugal/

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/cheri-sugal-93370731/

Instagram Handle: instagram.com/cher_agram/

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Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.