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The Predistribution Initiative is devoted to reducing inequality by changing the basic business practices of Wall Street. What will it take for it to succeed? Delilah Rothenberg has obsessed over inequality since her college years at NYU, where she studied neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism as a triple major in history, politics and African Studies […] Rothenberg quit her private equity job in 2018 to co-found The Predistribution Initiative, devoted to reducing inequality by changing the basic business practices of Wall Street. “It’s complex and it’s not something you can show a picture of in real life like a hungry child or a vulnerable woman,” Rothenberg says.
“Investor contribution” – a concept some also refer to as “additionality” – is under the spotlight, as part of the Investor Contribution 2.0 project. Behind this “consensus-building” initiative are Impact Frontiers, a programme of the US-based Bridges Impact Foundation, and the Predistribution Initiative, a nonprofit that supports institutional investors. Together, they hope to get more specific on what investor contribution means and on how to manage it. They’re not trying to create standardised metrics for investor contribution – which by its nature is context-specific – but rather to standardise an expectation that investors carefully consider certain elements of investor contribution; even if they aren’t always able to answer these questions, they can then communicate what they do and do not know.
Experts have backed United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) call to recognise the interconnectedness of environmental and social-related issues in tackling climate change. Delilah Rothenberg, Executive Director of the Predistribution Initiative (PDI), told ESG Investor that many institutional investors may “sense that inequality – like climate change and biodiversity loss – may pose system-level risks”. But there is currently “little understanding”, she added, about how such risks manifests in financial markets, what private sector activities contribute to inequality, and how and when inequality affects investors’ portfolios. In a recent report, the UNDP remarked that the evolution of the global financial system has created “vast imbalances” that now “pose risks” to markets and economies, and that solely using sustainable finance strategies to address climate change will be “inadequate” if interrelated social issues are not addressed simultaneously.