Impact Investing: $4.1 Trillion to Save the World
he world now faces dramatic cuts in government spending and no shortage of pressing social and environmental challenges. On Monday, asset owners and managers of an impressive 4.1 trillion dollars gathered in San Francisco to “Take Action!” – discussing how they can best use their investment portfolios to address big issues.
One of the conference’s major thrusts is understanding how investors can move beyond “socially responsible investment” (SRI), which primarily focuses on steering clear of “harmful” companies. The next step is to encourage an improved corporate environment, social performance, or governance practices. While SRI is undoubtedly important, many of Monday’s speakers focused on impact investing’s premium return potential as a catalyst that could affect the entire capital market structure. Attendees discussed challenging old paradigms about wealth and philanthropy, investment policies, addressing fiduciary constraints and standards of conduct, and deal flow in different markets.