The GIIN Roadmap offers eighteen specific actions that need to be taken on by the impact investing community with urgency. The steps we take today will not only address the industry’s most immediate and pressing needs, but also set in motion ripple effects far into the future.
First, we need to strengthen the identity of impact investing by establishing clear principles and standards for practice, such as by more clearly articulating the defining characteristics of an impact investor, developing standardized best practices for impact measurement and management, and facilitating collaboration among investors with different goals and preferences.
Second, we need to reshape the paradigm that governs investment behavior and expectations about the role of finance in society. Those who control capital must set incentives and design requirements to access their capital that align with positive impact. In addition, the theoretical models that underpin investment practice must be updated to integrate impact alongside risk and return.
Third, the accessibility of impact investments must be increased by developing products suitable for the full spectrum of investors (from retail to institutional) and to accommodate the capital needs of various types of investees (including innovative early-stage businesses operating in frontier markets). This will help translate the current, latent demand for impact investments into a higher volume of activity.
Fourth, we need tools and services to support the integration of impact into investors’ routine analysis, allocation, and deal-making activities. The essential services provided by investment banks, ratings agencies, and data providers must be expanded to incorporate impact considerations and accommodate the needs of the full spectrum of impact investors.
Fifth, education and training of professionals in finance and business is necessary to increase awareness of impact investing, maintain the integrity of practice, and drive talented human capital into the industry.
Sixth, policy and regulation can catalyze industry growth by establishing incentives for impact investments and create a supportive regulatory environment for investors and businesses generating impact.