Mainstreaming Sustainable and Impact Investing
Impact investing is an investment approach that can reconcile shortcomings in traditional financial markets and create transformative societal impact. As it is a nascent sector with huge potential, there is a significant need for practical research and actionable recommendations. The Forum seeks to increase the flow of capital into impact investments by synthesizing qualitative and quantitative analytics and strategically engaging investors, social entrepreneurs, public sector officials and academics
Impact investing is an investment approach across asset classes that can reconcile shortcomings in traditional financial markets and create transformative societal impact. The Mainstreaming Sustainable and Impact Investing initiative, established in 2012, has subsequently set a solid foundation for the World Economic Forum’s ongoing work in this sector. However, there is an urgent need to move investors from theory to practice and to foster opportunities for action. Investors are facing a paradigm shift, both in the recognition that old ways of doing business are no longer sustainable from a social and environmental perspective, but also in the growing demands from their current and future consumers, especially millennials and women. They are also just starting to recognize the distinct competitive advantage gained as an early player in the space offering products and services to fulfil this demand. This two year project seeks to catalyse the future of investing by harnessing this shift and driving toward long-term development of the sector. As a concrete example, by deploying the Impact Investing toolkit into the Global Challenge Initiative on Long-Term Investing, Infrastructure, and Development, we can a) unblock certain infrastructure pipelines and b) allow impact investing to scale because of the generally larger ticket sizes associated with infrastructure. The Forum is uniquely positioned to provide positive influence and direction for the traditional investing community, governments, and enterprises with the desire to see an increase in the flow of capital into impact investments.
Through a series of digital and physical workshops and dialogues, and in collaboration with multiple communities, project teams, and Global Challenges, our main areas of focus are:
- Strengthening best practice sharing with mainstream investors and target enterprises on how to blend impact with financial return
- Finding avenues to scale the assets deployed in impact investing
- Mobilizing a range of investors, governments, and impact enterprises to tackle existing roadblocks facing the sector
The Mainstreaming Impact Investing Initiative seeks to accelerate systemic shift from the short-term investment mind-set to one that focuses on long-term investments and sustainable impact, resulting in an increase in the flow of capital into impact investments.