Although 50% of American GDP is generated in and around 21 metro areas, the other 50% is what makes that urban industry possible.
Rural America is where the food for hundreds of millions of people around the world is grown and processed.
The vast majority of American energy, including basically all natural gas, oil, petroleum distillates, biofuels, coal, uranium, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and geothermal, are found and produced in rural places.
The same goes for essentially all commodities, production, and 99% of all water that is used, in one form or another, in every community, by every person, every day.
The rural west is valuable. It is our home. And it’s success is vital to the success of global markets.
Rural Asset Replacement Fund (Alpha)
i3 Investment Principles
Beyond financial return, the most important measure of an investment’s return relates to the impact it achieves. Impacts are always external to the investee and directly reflect the causal reality of an investment’s social (or environmental) objectives.
The premise of impact investing is that investors, with multiple objectives, can achieve both financial and social returns through a portfolio reflecting the blended value and mixed purposes of all investees. Success can be achieved only if financial and social returns can be generated at the same time.
i3’s objective is to identify ways to reduce transaction costs for community-scale (smaller) investment. When the cost to deploy $100M is roughly equivalent with the cost to deploy $100K, investors lack a real incentive to understand and actively engage in community-scale projects. While relative costs will always be unequal based upon transaction size, i3 believes smaller investments in rural communities can deliver outsized returns (both financial and social). Finding practices to contain transaction cost is of principal importance.
To be successful, impact investing requires tools, services, systems and management that is contextually appropriate for a blended value/mixed purpose portfolio.
We believe that the only way for rural impact investing to succeed is for its fundamental structure to be collaborative. i3 terms this as achieving impact through “scope” (breadth) rather than through “scale” (size).
Impact is impossible to analyze without data. Feelings and impressions are useful; information is vital. Context is even more important.
We believe in the value of rigorous analysis, but we also believe that reason must prevail over rigor. Measure what matters most and avoid unnecessarily detailed summarization.