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Started in 2009, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) conducts research on impact investment, runs training programs for investors and fund managers, organizes industry events and builds tools and resources for impact measurement.
That’s all with the aim of accelerating the growth of impact investing in general, making it a critical organization for developing a funding network for social enterprises.
In October, the nonprofit held its third global forum in Amsterdam, with over 1,300 attendees from 80 countries. Earlier in the year, it published its Roadmap for the Future of Impact Investing, which articulated a plan for impact investing, with six categories of action aimed at creating more inclusive and sustainable financial markets.
Amit Bouri, CEO and co-founder of the GIIN, recently talked to me about the organization’s plans.
What are your goals?
We want to make sure impact investing has the right end-game in mind. The goal is not just to unlock capital, but to have an impact on investing itself, to shape the overall system for the better. We think that involves three themes.
Can you tell us more about those themes?
First, we want to have participation from people who haven’t been in the impact investing market before. It’s important to engage them all, from small boutique firms to larger institutional investors, from the retail investor to high net-worth individuals.
Second, it’s important to safeguard the integrity of the impact investing market. Our goal is to not just have capital at scale, but to have impact at scale. As we bring in new investors, we need to help them understand how they can have the most impact with their capital. We launched for public comment at our global forum what we call “characteristics of impact investors” to address the question we’re often asked by people new to impact investing: What does it mean for me to take on the label of being an impact investor?
The third theme is about changing mindsets and fueling a much broader impact investing movement. We need to address how people think about the purpose of capital, because ultimately we need to reshape how all of society views the role of investments. Right now, there’s a lot of interest among millennials and women for impact to be more front and center in their lives. That applies to where they work, what they buy and what they invest in. And we have to make sure we embrace this interest.
How do you plan to make this happen?
Increasingly, we’re hearing from people who are not yet ready to be members of the GIIN, but they’re really interested in becoming more active and they want resources and tools to help them move from interest to actually deploying capital. We want to build some on-ramps for them, with a particular emphasis on institutional investors—pension funds, insurance companies, faith-based investors who have a long-term view of investing. We began publishing case studies on how institutional investors are engaged in impact investing to help those new to impact learn how this can be a part of their overall strategy.
With our “characteristics of impact investors”, we hope to provide some clarity about what it means to be an impact investor. They were developed with our investors council, which is the leadership group in our network with over 50 investors. Also, we’re continuing to scale up our navigating impact initiative. The initiative builds on our IRIS metrics to take objectives, like increasing access to affordable housing or clean energy, and connect them to metrics backed by evidence and conducted by third-party researchers. We’re currently working to develop the tool for gender lens investing.
To reach a broader audience, we will take the message of impact investing to people beyond the usual suspects. And we’re building an enhanced approach to how we accelerate product development to fill the gaps in the market that can engage a broader set of investors.
December 14, 2018 at 12:06PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs