Finance-based public advocacy: A new way for activists to change outdated government policies

Dear Caring Human,

Vegan Launch is pioneering a new, finance-based advocacy approach for shifting government policies and spending priorities toward supporting vegan ethics and the vegan economy.

As someone who led a campaign that forced a United States President (in a nice way) to reverse a devastating environmental policy he had signed into law the previous year, I know from personal experience what it takes to make governments do the right thing.

That taste of success led me to the field of finance in 2001. If we look honestly, the most effective policy advocates on the planet are big finance, big animal “agriculture”, big fossil fuel, big military, and a host of others. Sadly, big broccoli isn’t on the list.

With vegan values breaking into the mainstream economy, we now have a rare opportunity to take vegan advocacy far beyond what is possible solely with charity-based initiatives.

Our flagship project, the Grassroots Vegan Fund, is a lot more than just an ethical investment opportunity for retail investors. It is a new, financially sustainable way to address today’s mega-challenges at scale.

At $1 billion under management, we project the Fund will have over 100 thousand individual investors. Many of those investors will want to help advocate for new government policies and spending decisions that save animals, ecosystems, and human lives while at the same time increasing the value of their investment holdings.

One of the interesting things I learned in my non-profit environmental advocacy days is that while entrenched industries may spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on influencing government policies, they have to pay the full retail price for their lobbyists and marketing ploys. Their mercenaries don’t care one whit about the issues. They will jump to whichever employer pays more.

On the other hand, ethical movements have heart. Activists in ethical movements are typically 100 times more effective per dollar at producing change. The main challenge for most ethical advocates is raising the relatively tiny amount of money required to provide the food and shelter they need to do their work each day.

Instead of mounting endless fundraising drives, the Grassroots Vegan Fund will generate $20 million in recurring annual revenue from management fees for every $1 billion under management. Just like the Wall Street banks, Vegan Launch will be able to use a portion of this revenue to pursue “government relations”, yet we will get 100x the results per dollar because the fund’s staff and those investors who wish to join in the effort will have the secret ingredient, heartfelt passion for the issues.

This approach is similar the grassroots advocacy approach we used at the NGO I cofounded in the 1990’s. But by swapping out the financially-weak charity platform for the financially-strong investment platform, Vegan Launch can make these types of grassroots advocacy efforts economically sustainable for the foreseeable future.

With $15 trillion in already-identified vegan investment opportunities, there is truly no limit to the governmental and economic transformation we can create in this way.

The reality that movements create markets will give Grassroots Vegan Fund investors a powerful advantage over other funds that only seek to pick winners: Our staff and active investors will directly help create government policies that improve the growth and profits of the vegan-led businesses held inside the Fund.

As a student of political history going back to the dawn of organized society in China, nobody should be surprised by the way politicians behave. Politics attracts a certain personalty type. Once you understand that, you understand how to handle them, just like some people know how to handle alligators. Surprisingly, my degree in Asian studies has served me well throughout my life!

Everyone has heard of the “carrot and the stick”. Politicians are quite responsive to both. However, charity-based advocacy tends to rely almost totally on the stick. With the ability to aggregate capital made possible by using a financial platform, Vegan Launch will have great latitude to lead in the creation of long-lasting, peace-based policy and spending shifts by governments around the world.

To get involved, please learn about and participate in the Vegan Launch Syndicate and the Grassroots Vegan Fund.

Mark Winstein
Founder, Vegan Launch

Page featured image courtesy of Tania Malréchauffé on Unsplash

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