Business focus has seen a big shift in recent years as more companies and financiers seek to create “win-win” enterprises that serve society, the environment and the economy. While many corporations have been required by policy or law to change their operations, the Avalon Alliance has always been a “triple bottom line” company that has built its very foundation on an all-encompassing set of sustainability principles and corporate ethics. We are part of the growing Benefit Corporation movement that is mobilizing private capital for public good in companies around the world. Avalon is currently completing third party verification with B Lab and other progressive global institutions.
We aspire to fulfill many important needs of society and the planet while achieving financial success in the new restoration economy. According to accounting firm KPMG, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing formally began with a call to action from the UN Secretary-General in 2004. In 2017, ESG investments had grown to US $23 trillion, accounting for about one-quarter of all professionally managed investments globally. According to the Responsible Investment Association, managed assets using responsible investment criteria have risen to more than 50 percent in Canada.
Today ESG is evolving even further into impact investing, which has moved to the forefront of decision-making for asset managers and institutional investors. Analysts now believe that all these forms of ethical investing have become a permanent mega-trend, not a niche market. There is also an exploding crowdfunding movement where citizens are taking action to contribute smaller funding amounts towards campaigns supporting community-oriented improvements, social causes and green solutions.
We welcome inquiries from prospective ethical investors, financial institutions, public sector partners, corporate sponsors and citizen supporters who would like to help Avalon’s subsidiary ventures and project partnerships grow. All of Avalon investment and giving opportunities follow BC Securities Commission regulations and eligibility requirements. Today’s progressive market trends are fully reflected in Avalon’s comprehensive thematic sectors, sustainable development priorities, eco-technology ventures, digital and live programming content.
Those who are making healthy, green choices have been identified by economic demographers as “cultural creatives” or the “LOHAS market” (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). Like a snowball rolling downhill, this movement spans many demographic segments. It is increasing in size and momentum worldwide, especially as people become more aware of climate change and the collapse of many ecosystems and species on the planet.
Economic growth statistics are proving that the new paradigm businesses and technologies are the way of the future, with less risk and excellent longer term investment potential. In the United States alone, the LOHAS market was estimated at more than $290 billion. According to quantitative research conducted over the course of three years by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a research and consulting firm in Pennsylvania, a third of U.S. adults actively embrace LOHAS values and priorities. Across Canada and many countries around the world, this market is larger and growing even more rapidly.
Conscious Media in Colorado, organizers of an annual LOHAS forum and publishers of LOHAS Journal, further define five main market subcategories within the LOHAS set:
Healthy living: This is the most common entry point to the LOHAS market. It encompasses organic foods, natural products, nutritional supplements, and a wide variety of health and fitness pursuits.
Alternative healthcare: LOHAS consumers actively seek out information and services related to integrative healthcare and holistic disease prevention, including practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy.
Personal development: Perceiving the connection between physical and mental health, LOHAS types take a strong interest in personal development and growth, including investigations of mind-body-emotion-spirit connections, self-help, leadership and life-balance topics. They are likely to take yoga, meditation and tai chi classes, as well as purchase books, videos and CDs on related subjects. They like to seek out new experiences and learning.
Ecological lifestyles: Because they see their own health and the planet’s health as inherently tied, LOHAS consumers tend to embrace recycling, green building, ecotourism and all sorts of eco-friendly home and office products. They are better informed than average about ecological topics.
Sustainable economy: From renewable energy sources and socially responsible investing to fair-trade principles and “triple bottom line” accounting (which considers social and environmental performance, as well as fiscal profits), LOHAS consumers like to promote fair, ethical and sustainable business practices. They prefer doing business with companies that promote a holistic worldview and that share their values.
Municipalities and academic institutions have also been actively engaged in the sustainability movement, and for the most part levels of regulation increasingly reflect the shifting consumer market and global imperative of facing climate change and other social and environmental crises. University of British Columbia’s Sustainability Research Centre has described a trillion-dollar global market for greening urban infrastructure. Green certification standards are becoming desirable status symbols for new building projects with many practical advantages. Fleming College, Ontario, which offers re-training for builders, has also predicted that green renovation is expected to become the dominant segment of the construction industry in Canada within the next decade or so.
Despite new progress in corporate responsibility, people are still concerned about some exploitative companies and industries that seem not to have a moral compass. These volatile economic forces seek to evade taxes, erode the rights of workers, leave a legacy of pollution or deforestation, and put big company management salaries ahead of community well-being and the environment.
Moreover, many mainstream media and internet sources are controlled by interests that glorify trivial consumerism and the lavish lives of the super rich, while painting the environmental and civil society movements as “left-leaning radicals” or treating natural health and new energy innovations as “pseudo-science”.
Citizens feel increasingly resentful as the world’s richest 1 percent continue to own 45% of the world’s wealth, while adults with less than $10,000 make up 64% of the world’s population (inequality.org). We have thought deeply about the structural basis of the socio-economic and environmental crisis, and would like to share the following observations:
Avalon aims to help rectify this crisis by empowering good-hearted people who have the capacity to give and/or invest responsibly with discernment. We should no longer feel oppressed by global inequities and mismanaged financial and natural assets. We only have to “turn the golden key” and move discretionary monies into ethical funds, sustainable ventures and causes that are truly making a difference for communities and the planet.
It is not enough to just apply a negative screen – such as being against weapons production and other “sin” industries – investors and donors can now vote with their money for the kind of life, enterprises and community improvements they really want. We are at the beginning of an investment and giving revolution where it’s responsible management and the direct positive impacts that count the most. Global sustainability reporting has now got many companies, public corporations and NGOs scrambling to improve their governance ethics, employee standards, facility operations, and actual products and services.
Avalon Sustainable Ventures Corp. (ASVC) is the ethical investment arm of the Avalon Alliance group of companies. We are now open to requests for details on investment opportunities with the signing of a NDA agreement. The ASVC was created to raise the capital required to establish multiple subsidiary ventures and project partnerships that utilize our leading edge models of SHIFT development, green technology solutions, ethical marketplace promotion, digital media and software applications, among other activities of the Avalon companies. The investments will be made pursuant to exemptions from the prospectus and registration requirements under national securities laws.
Eligible investors in the ASVC will receive a fixed rate of return on the investment through our convertible debenture subscription agreement, with a future option of exchanging some or all of debenture holdings into the capital stock of ASVC, which supports our sustainable ventures and partnership projects.
The Avalon Sustainable Ventures Corp. will also support the expansion of the Avalon Alliance Management Corp.(AAMC) into its full operational capacity to fulfill its local and global mission. The AAMC Central Management and Advisory Council and interdisciplinary Guilds are comprised of leading edge professionals, community leaders and industry experts who have extensive financial, legal, applied research, business planning, market feasibility and green design-build experience. Coordinators for future global offices will also be required. AAMC acts as general manager for all Avalon subsidiaries as well as project partnerships related to Avalon SHIFT engagements or technology/ product acceleration streams.
We have also incorporated into our SHIFT development phases for some Canadian projects a parallel process of Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) business immigration. This new wave of business and residential mobility provides an extraordinary opportunity to realize Avalon’s goal of creating sustainable “live-work-learn-play” communities for local citizens, immigrant newcomers and visitors from around the world. Avalon’s attractive financial case for its green development model is strengthened by early stage recruitment of prospective immigrant residents, eligible investors, community partners and ethical business enterprises into mixed-use projects.
Avalon SHIFT has a wide variety of exciting P3 project partnership opportunities for both private investment and public agency funding. We match up private investment with government incentive grants and university/ college collaborations to help reduce the costs of project development, especially when innovative product development and eco-infrastructure is involved.
While such initiatives usually start out with landowner partners or SHIFT client engagements, down the road there is often need for additional investment capital to complete the entire process of development, certification, marketing and ongoing operations. Thus the ASVC investors can make a difference in ensuring such projects complete successfully. Avalon’s initial project investigations and ongoing feasibility assessment help ensure that projects can generate positive impacts and have a strong business case indicating capacity for financial returns to investors.
Crowdfunding Option: In some situations (especially in disadvantaged regions of the world) a community project may be viable and have many merits, but may not be able to generate the level of profitability desired by financial institutions or accredited investors. Such worthwhile projects can benefit from general membership giving for smaller amounts of $1500, and can crowdfund up to $250,000 in debt or equity. As an alternative to debt or equity raises, Avalon may also facilitate various perks and products for supporters. Avalon intends to have this crowdfunding option in place shortly. We are also are able to engage in humanitarian aid projects with substantial government and international agency funding.
The City of Kelowna, located at the centre of BC’s Okanagan valley, is renowned for its exceptional climate, diverse landscapes and exciting year-round amenities. It has been the fastest growing city in the province, with a current metropolitan area population of 194,882. Kelowna frequently tops the ratings on lists of Canadian cities comparing quality of life and growth potential.
The local real estate market and construction industry has remained strong and stable for the most part. Expansions at University of BC Okanagan, Interior Health and Okanagan College are bringing even more economic diversification, innovation and multicultural vitality to our region.
Warm, dry Okanagan summers see an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), and support a thriving tourism industry with a $1.25 billion dollar economic impact for the Central Okanagan alone. Outstanding ski resorts in the region, such as Big White Mountain and Silver Star Resort, help ensure the economic benefits continue year round. The valley boasts 53 golf courses that cater to all skill levels, and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy orchard and winery tours, exceptional hiking and cycling, many lake beaches and scenic vistas.
As well, the arts and culture sector in Kelowna is continuously evolving, and the valley is home to scores of internationally recognized painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists. Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts, a multipurpose facility opened in 2002 to accommodate a range of performances and local resident artists. Historical attractions such as the BC Orchard Industry and Wine Museum showcase the agricultural history of the area in authentically restored buildings, and art galleries abound.
The Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association (TOTA) has played a big part in creating global recognition of our region, and has a strong UN Biosphere commitment. Festivals and events are held throughout the year, and both the spring and fall Okanagan Wine Festivals have become major tourism draws.
The Okanagan Valley has no shortage of technology and innovation, and is commonly known as “Silicon Vineyard” or “Silicon Valley North”. This refers to our plethora of high-tech companies and digital industries, including world class animation, gaming and software development studios and some clean energy tech companies. The Kelowna Innovation Centre and Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission have been active in promoting this sector in Canada, and attend trade shows in countries like USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan.
The high-tech industry, as well as all the other economic sectors, is well served by air and highway connections, as Kelowna International Airport is the second fastest growing airport in North America and offers direct connections to and from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle and Toronto. Highway access is similarly convenient, as Vancouver is only 395 km away, Calgary 602 km and Seattle Washington 504 km.
The Avalon Impact Investing and Giving Club is our group of local and global citizens who make a substantial investment into Avalon Sustainable Ventures Corp and our other subsidiary companies, green tech and digital ventures, or SHIFT projects world-wide. Philanthropists who have aided our global educational mission, community causes and outreach efforts will also be included. Our Impact Investing and Giving Club members will be notified first of any upcoming investment and giving opportunities, and will enjoy some special membership perks including an annual conference.