Survey Highlights a Diverse and Burgeoning Impact Investing Market

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) published the ninth edition of its Annual Impact Investor Survey. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances.

Some key findings from this year’s survey report include: 

• The impact investing industry is diverse. Survey respondents represent a variety of investor types, including fund managers, foundations, banks, development finance institutions, family offices, pension funds, and others. A majority of the investors are headquartered in developed markets; assets are allocated globally, with about half invested in emerging markets. Respondents also allocate across a variety of sectors, with the greatest share allocated to energy (15%), microfinance (13%), and other financial services (11%). 

The impact investing market continues to grow and mature. Collectively, respondents manage USD 239 billion in impact investing assets (nearly half of the total impact investing market, as measured by AUM). A subset of 80 investors that contributed to the Annual Survey both four years ago and this year grew their assets at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 17%–a signal that the market is not only growing through new investors entering the market, but also due to increasing assets under management from those already in the market.

Impact measurement and management (IMM) is central to investors’ goals and practices. Respondents nearly universally measure and manage their impact, typically using a mix of qualitative information, proprietary metrics, and metrics aligned to IRIS or other standard frameworks. More than 60% of investors track their investment performance to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, driven by a desire to integrate into a global development agenda.

Amit Bouri, CEO and co-founder of the GIIN, said, “Global challenges like entrenched inequality and climate change require large-scale, urgent action, and impact investors are stepping up to help fuel positive progress. They are accounting for considerations that have long been ignored in the financial sector—the impact of investments and businesses on people and the planet.” He continued, “Our research shows that the growth of impact investing has largely been fueled by client demand, which demonstrates the powerful potential for people to influence positive change in the financial system.” 

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing around the world. 

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