Impact Investment: Building the Market

posted 16 Jul 2020 2 mins

Social Impact Investment virtual event: Building the Market

Our series of virtual events on the theme of Social Impact Investment continued on Thursday 16th July with a stimulating talk on ‘Building the Market’.

Two leading players in the sector shared valuable insights:

Jamie Broderick of the Impact Investing Institute focused on the scale and growth of this area, pointing out that global social impact investments have doubled in the last year, with Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) assets standing at $30trillion.  He encouraged us to view impact investment within the full spectrum of capital deployment, from traditional, profit-driven investment at one end of the scale, to pure philanthropy with minus 100% return at the other.  The majority of impact investment, Jamie argued, falls somewhere in the middle, and it is up to investors to choose their particular driving principle (finance first/ social responsibility/ sustainability etc.).  Ultimately, he argued, the impact-investment market will gain momentum not from sophisticated marketing techniques, but from increasing awareness of existing practice.

Evita Zanuso of Big Society Capital pointed out that whereas climate change has previously been a major focus of impact investment, the coronavirus crisis has shed light on deep inequalities within UK society and on related opportunities for social investment.  Using the example of a collaboration between St Mungo’s, a homelessness charity, and Resonance, a social impact investment company, Evita showed how investment in transitional housing helped homeless individuals and families get their lives back on track as well as providing a good return for investors.  Exploring the fusion of private investment and government investment, is, she suggested, a necessary and logical next step.

With questions thrown open to the floor, audience members contributed their own perspectives and experiences to this very enlightening – if socially distanced – conversation which left the C. Hoare & Co. ‘hive mind’ buzzing.