The value proposition of impact investing (and other forms of investing that integrate impact), will enjoy wide acceptance, with plentiful evidence in their favor. Businesses and investors will hold themselves accountable to multiple sets of stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, affected communities, and local and global environments. The concept of ‘externalities’ will be relegated to history, with finance theory accounting for risk, return, and impact equally well. Ultimately, financial markets will be central in supporting solutions to critical threats facing the world.
This vision is unashamedly ambitious—to some it may even seem idealistic. But the GIIN believes it to be not only possible but also necessary to create a prosperous future for people and the planet. While the vision relates to financial markets broadly, impact investing has a central role to play in its realization, setting and raising the standards for investment practice and generating the tools and data that allow investors to evaluate impact and channel capital to the most effective solutions.
Despite this positive momentum, impact investing is still a relatively small, niche area of broader investment practice. This report lays out a Roadmap for the Future of Impact Investing with six categories of action that the impact investing community needs to take on to exponentially enhance and scale impact investing, and to accelerate progress toward our vision.
This work needs to begin immediately and with urgency. While full realization of our vision will take time, the problems we face are substantial and many portend significant near-term challenges. The steps we take today will not only address the most immediate and pressing needs, but also set in motion ripple effects far into the future.
For each of these six areas, the Roadmap offers a number of specific actions, which will need to be taken on by a diverse range of actors, including those centrally dedicated to field-building (such the GIIN), as well as pioneering impact investors, wealth advisors, academics, governments, and funders.