Impact Investing

Impact investing has recently grown in popularity as investors have become increasingly conscious of the need to make a positive contribution to their communities and the environment. People have become increasingly aware that how they invest their money matters and that they have the power to change the world. Impact investing is an approach to finance that involves making investments into companies or funds that focus on creating positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Impact investing can be defined as, “the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return, and the understanding that capital should be allocated in order to generate positive change.”  It provides an alternative to traditional ‘socially responsible investing’ (which involves avoiding investments in certain sectors, such as gambling, alcohol, and arms manufacturing) as it takes an active approach rather than a passive one, focusing on direct investments that have a positive impact.

The Rise of Impact Investing

When it comes to investments, there has been a recent shift in the way people think about their money and the consequences of their financial decisions. Where once people would have been happy just to make a financial return, investors today are increasingly looking for ways to make a positive difference. This shift has been driven by changing social and environmental conditions, increased awareness of the need for increased sustainability and changes in the way individuals and institutions are investing their money.

This has resulted in a rapid rise in the prominence of impact investing, with a growing number of investors de-allocating funds from traditional investments and instead directing their capital toward investments that generate social and environmental impact alongside financial returns. Some of the most popular areas where investors are investing include clean energy, sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, and healthcare.

Benefits of Impact Investing

There are many benefits associated with impact investing. Here are just some of the advantages that impact investing offers:

• It allows investors to generate a financial return while also creating positive impacts in the world

• It is becoming more accessible, with more opportunities for people to invest in impact investments

• It offers investors the opportunity to align their personal values with their investment decisions

• It can have a reduced risk profile, as impact investments often have less correlation with traditional markets

• It can be used to finance important projects in the public sector, with governments increasingly turning to impact investments to raise funding for infrastructure, education, and healthcare projects

• It has the potential to generate more efficient financial markets, driving greater efficiency and innovation

• It encourages a longer-term, more sustainable approach to business

• It can be used to support entrepreneurs and innovators in creating new solutions to pressing social, environmental, and economic problems

Barriers to Impact Investing

Despite the growing popularity of impact investing, there are still some barriers to its widespread adoption. The following are some of the main obstacles that impact investors are currently facing:

• Limited availability of impact investments, with many investor’s portfolios often heavily weighted toward traditional investments

• Lack of liquidity, as many impact investments are illiquid and long-term in nature

• Limited sources of capital, as the amount of capital currently available for impact investments is often insufficient

• Difficulty in measuring impact, as assessing the impact of an investment is often complex and difficult to measure

• A lack of investment expertise, due to the relatively recent emergence of impact investing, with many investors still unsure what to invest in

• Regulatory uncertainty, with investors often facing unclear regulations and policies for certain impact-oriented investments.

Impact investing has recently seen a surge in popularity as more investors have realized the power that their money has to make a positive difference in the world. Impact investing not only generates a financial return, but can also be used to create social and environmental change, helping to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. Impact investing is increasingly becoming more accessible, with more and more opportunities for investors to generate a positive return while also creating positive impacts in the world. While there are some barriers to its adoption, such as limited liquidity and a lack of expertise, as more investors move toward investments that generate a financial return while also making an impact, these barriers are likely to decrease in time.