Systemic Investing to Tackle the US Food Waste Challenge - The Fink Family and ReFED

19 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2023 Last revised: 19 Dec 2023

See all articles by Alban Yau

Alban Yau

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Jason Jay

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: October 27, 2023

Abstract

This case study presents an example of a systemic investing approach, charting the Fink family's and ReFED’s transformative journey in US food waste reduction. It commences with the Finks’ establishment of Millstone Farm, initial philanthropic grants, and private investments as they probe into the complex food system in the United States. It documents how the mantra of “big tent” - building an inclusive ecosystem around an ignored issue - helped weave the necessary social fabric for the change to evolve. ReFED, a backbone organization armed with data infrastructure, emerged as a critical player in empowering the stakeholders, including investors, to take action. The mobilization of human capital and financial capital changed the food waste landscape significantly. This case highlights different levels of capital allocation with a systems lens, showcasing the many roles an investor can play to facilitate systems change.

Keywords: Systemic Investing, Investing for Systems Change, Systems Capital, Food Waste, Backbone Organization, Funder Collaborative, Impact Investing, Sustainable Finance

Suggested Citation

Yau, Alban and Jay, Jason, Systemic Investing to Tackle the US Food Waste Challenge - The Fink Family and ReFED (October 27, 2023). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 6956-23, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4615351 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4615351

Alban Yau

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

Jason Jay (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

77 Massachusetts Ave.
E62-362
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
551
Abstract Views
1,801
Rank
90,605
PlumX Metrics