Environment Planet Earth Everyday People Can Invest in Organizations That Protect the Environment By Tom Szaky Writer Princeton University Tom Szaky is the CEO and founder of TerraCycle, a company that makes consumer products from waste. He has been a guest contributor for Treehugger since 2006. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Tom Szaky Updated October 11, 2018 ©. ownterracycle.com Share Twitter Pinterest Email Planet Earth Conservation Weather Outdoors Wealthy individuals and accredited investors often take up the mantle of infusing capital into eco-ventures because they have the money to do so. But the “do-good” mindset has no income bracket, and average consumers do care about the environmental and social justice issues that have increasing salience with the global community. Concepts such as global warming, water contamination and human rights are weighty matters that are more accessible to people than ever before, as is the need for resources to make solutions effective. A prohibitive barrier standing between potential stewards and investing in causes they feel strongly about is the notion that because they are not wealthy, they can’t affect change in a significant way without breaking the bank. However, average consumers of all incomes have the ability to meaningfully invest in organizations doing good work, and can make a real difference by providing capital to NGOs, non-profits and sustainable brands. Crowdfunding The rise of social media and internet literacy sees us living in an increasingly connected world. With it, a new funding option has developed for people looking to support distinct causes and small businesses: crowdfunding. Defined as the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people (aka a crowd), popular and well-known platforms for this model include IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe. Powered by the internet connecting consumers to the things they care about, crowdfunding is used for causes and initiatives of all sizes, affording individuals and groups the flexibility to set the terms of their raise, retain control of their project, and open up to as many potential backers as possible. Whether it’s to back a campaign to bring a soiless indoor greenhouse to market, help with a neighbor's healthcare or give a homeless person a haircut and a shower, crowdfunding platforms are accessible, sustainable avenues through which consumers can personalize their investments and put their money where their values are. Regulation A Crowdfunding platforms allow consumers to invest their money in causes that matter to them, without having to be a wealthy, accredited investor. Building on the freedom and flexibility offered by the emerging crowdfunding options, President Obama passed a piece of bi-partisan legislation designed to support entrepreneurship by opening the door to non-accredited investors to participate in early stage investments, subject to SEC review. A provision of this legislation is called Regulation A. On a mission to recycle the unrecyclable, TerraCycle US Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of TerraCycle, Inc., just announced that its $25 million Regulation A offering has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), thereby allowing anyone the opportunity to invest in our U.S. business. Through the Regulation A offering, TerraCycle US Inc. seeks to use the proceeds from the offering to acquire related companies, increase staff and grow its business. Invest Time While the average person can make a straight money donation to the charity or non-profit of their choice, you can support a cause with the most precious, scarce resource there is: time. Volunteer at the local library, your old elementary school, an animal shelter or soup kitchen. Human resources are the power behind any organization, for profit or not; sources like Volunteer Match can help you find a role that fits your vision, location and level of dedication. Research the causes that are important you, be it climate change, urban development, food systems or early childhood education, and learn more about how you can be of use. Before you whip out your wallet, cultivating your knowledge is a regenerating investment in a very real source of capital that gets environmental and social ventures off the ground. --- Money isn’t the only way to invest in a meaningful cause, but the fact is that all limitations of social systems boil down to be a matter of economics. Capital is key. It is important that you, the consumer, are aware of and empowered by the options available to you. The power to invest in something that you truly have a passion for is a coveted aspect of human life; it provides purpose, and way to connect to the things that matter.