Impact Investing

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Impact Investing for Educational Progress

To borrow a frequently used legal phrase, the low educational attainment of minorities in the United States should shock the conscience of America. The most recent Census figures show that 47 percent of white Americans hold at least an associate degree. Degree attainment rates are far lower among other groups: Only 31 percent for African-Americans, 25 percent for American

Impact Investing Must Hold Chinese Companies to Same Ethical Standards

Socially responsible investing has gained traction in recent years. Traditionally, an underperforming niche product ignored by most serious investors, it has become a key investment rationale and a differentiator among portfolio managers. There has been tangible growth of investment in companies that make a positive impact in terms of environmental, social, and governance issues—or ESG

Three elephants in the impact investing room

Controversy #1: The crowding out of Official Development Assistance (ODA) Impact investing looks like the new salvation. The hope is that tapping into finance from corporations, venture capital, wealth funds and other non-state investors will increase the amount of resources available to meet the Sustainable Development Goals from ‘billions to trillions’ of dollars. This vision is appealing,

Five Practices for Developing and Staying Accountable to Racial Equity Goals

The connection between impact investing and our foundation’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion comes up for us every day at The California Endowment (The Endowment). As a health funder, we know race and structural racism drive health inequality and lifespan differences between communities, and we have emphasized the importance of diversity and racial

If we don’t close the economic gender gap, we’re leaving money on the table

Gender inequality is in the spotlight like never before. If the global strikes and protests of last year’s International Women’s Day reminded us of the scale and importance of the challenge, they also showed us that genuine change is within reach. This year, we must ask ourselves how we can maintain and accelerate momentum. A good place

Why investing in women and girls will take off in 2019

I recently attended a meeting of investors, asset managers, foundations, family offices, and social entrepreneurs organised in New York by the Financial Times to explore “gender lens investing,” that is, investing in women and girls to boost overall development impact alongside a financial return. The discussions focused on this new niche as the next big

Financial Sector: Redefining Broader Sense of Purpose

So let me start with a Hollywood story. As you may know, Disney was recently faced with the challenge of creating a sequel to the original Mary Poppins movie, which has delighted children and adults for more than half a century. The producers of the new film recreated the magical nanny from P.L. Travers’s books,

Gender-Lens Investing Strategies for 2019

After a decades-long outcry for data proving that gender-smart investing makes financial sense, today reams of evidence show that including women in government leads to more stable societies, educating women creates stronger communities, including women on company boards leads to better organizational performance, and access to contraceptives contributes to a stable economy. Once viewed as

Impact investing goes public

Despite the many societal challenges associated with the internet, viral news and social media, these digital forces have produced at least one great benefit for humanity: they’ve helped to put a human face on capitalism. When a factory collapses on innocent workers overseas, when a wildfire wreaks havoc on communities during a drought, or when

How Liberatory Philanthropy and Restorative Investing Can Remake the Economy

The past year ushered in a new level of poignant and popular critique of the business of philanthropy, catalyzing widespread discussion and debate about philanthropy’s role in perpetuating and exacerbating economic inequality and racial injustice. Books like Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas and Edgar Villanueva’s Decolonizing Wealth became essential reading and struck a chord throughout the social

Impact investing: a new way to fund cures for cancer

Impact investing is changing the world, offering socially conscious investors opportunities to drive social and environmental change without sacrificing financial returns. It’s become common in sectors like renewable energy and education. But what about health care? It currently ranks seventh among sectors receiving the most capital from impact investors. That’s not high enough to kick-start

70M People Are Counting On This Social Entrepreneur To Succeed

John Kluge, 35, founder and managing director for the Refugee Investment Network or the RIN, created this matchmaking service between impact investors and impact actors in the refugee space with a key group of people in mind: the 70 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world. With refugees spending an average of 26 years in

Impact Investing Isn’t About Cash. It’s About Ecosystems

I have worked with hundreds of college entrepreneurs for over a decade, and their No. 1 request for help is often about funding. I don’t blame them -- money is scarce -- but cash is the ultimate commodity. When we think about investing, it’s pretty mathematical: Money in hopefully leads to more money out. But impact

Sustainable Finance Is Growing in the World’s Worst-Polluting Country

Tao Zhang is bullish on sustainability in China—especially when it comes to livestock emissions. The founder of U.S.-China impact investing consortium Dao Ventures has spent much of the past year looking to accelerate investment in more environmentally friendly plant-based or lab-grown meat for Chinese consumers through a new company, Dao Foods. Climate change activists are

Pushing The Boundaries To Make Impact Investing Available To Everyone

If you have an extra £100 each month, how would you invest in a sustainable future, while still earning an decent market return? If you had a windfall of £1 million, would you know how to invest it? Who would you ask to manage it to achieve the impact and the returns that you would want?

ESG screening boosts stock market performance, research finds

Screening companies and investments using environmental social governance (ESG) criteria can positively impact investment returns and stock market performance, an analysis released recently by one of Europe's largest asset managers has found. Amundi, which manages more than €1.47tr worth of assets, looked at investment data from 2010-2017 to analyse the performance of 1,700 companies across

Major funds launch toolkit to help investors measure SDG impact

Cambridge University’s Investment Leaders Group has developed a framework that allows investors to measure the impact of their investments against the Sustainable Development Goals. The Investment Leaders Group (ILG), a global network of pension funds, insurers and asset managers convened by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), has created a dashboard, called the Cambridge Impact

How gender lens investing is becoming a roaring business trend

When Prince Charles announced a $100 million fund with the aim of reaching thousands of women and girls in South Asia to provide them support in the form of education and professional opportunities in the next five years, the British Asian Trust (BAT) was tasked with playing the role of the investment banker for the

Paying for success: The story of how Utah became a leader in social impact investing

A Utah preschool program that has helped hundreds of severely at-risk 4-year-olds avoid costly special education programs is making waves across the country. And it didn’t cost taxpayers a penny to pilot the program. The Utah High Quality Preschool Program, which launched in 2013, uses a new model called “pay for success” in which private

Reducing risk, extra returns, and being nice with it. That’s ESG

FOLLOWING last week’s column on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, what are the issues to look out for when screening for the best returns and best funds to choose? In the ‘beginning’, we had ethical funds, sustainable funds and socially responsible funds. Now we have the term ESG. Ethical funds avoided anything that did