Investing for Social and Environmental Impact

Investing for Social and Environmental Impact

A new report from the Monitor Institute, Investing for Social and Environmental Impact (86 pages, PDF), examines the evolution and potential future of "impact investing" — the practice of using profit-seeking investment strategies to generate social and environmental good. Funded by the Rockefeller, Annie E. Casey, W.K. Kellogg, and JPMorgan Chase foundations, the report identifies two challenges to the success of impact investing. First, it may be too hard for some groups to overcome the typical challenges facing a messy, new industry. For those that persevere, however, the definition of social and environmental impact could turn out to be so loose and diluted as to be virtually meaningless, which could actually divert capital away from philanthropy, decreasing the resources dedicated to confronting serious societal challenges. The report also profiles a wide range of impact investors and provides a list of initiatives that could help catalyze the industry, including cultivating talented entrepreneurs and establishing common metrics, language, and an impact investing network.