12 May 2020
A new section of the Environmental Finance website has been launched to host the best of our coverage of the rapidly growing impact investing market.
Keen-eyed readers will have noticed that the amount of impact-themed news and analysis on our website has increased in recent weeks. Environmental Finance also recently launched a weekly news alert to highlight the best of our Impact coverage.
Now, IMPACT, a section on Environmental Finance's website dedicated to impact investing, has been launched to serve as a one-stop-shop for this editorial. You can access the site by clicking here.
The launch of IMPACT section follows a successful pilot issue of IMPACT magazine last year.
Some thought leaders in the sustainable investment industry believe that impact investing is the logical next step, following the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.
Environmental Finance's new focus on impact investing comes at what experts suggest could be a defining moment for this part of the market, as the global coronavirus crisis exposes many of the challenges that impact investors have been trying to tackle for years.
Amit Bouri, CEO and co-founder of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), told Environmental Finance last month: "The coronavirus crisis poses an important leadership moment for impact investors around the world.
"Look back at the last financial crisis – the great recession in 2008 – and the decade that followed. Looking at the top line, at things like GDP growth and stock market growth, by those measures it's been a time of tremendous prosperity. But when we look below the surface, we see that the recovery was uneven, that the inequality gap widened, and that there was insufficient progress to mitigate climate change.
"As we start to think about the recovery from this crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and how we can make sure that it's more inclusive, more balanced and more sustainable, impact investors have a lot to offer... Impact investing needs to be front and centre."
In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, only about one fifth of investors targeting measurable positive impact alongside financial returns have continued investing, according to Big Path Capital. Many have instead focused on supporting their existing investee companies.
However, impact investors could be key to financing recovery efforts in months ahead.
Some have wasted little time getting in on the act.
BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, last month launched an actively managed, listed equities 'impact fund' that targets a positive contribution to the coronavirus crisis response. Switzerland's Union Bancaire Privée recently made three investments, via its existing impact fund, in companies it said are set to be "long-term beneficiaries" of the crisis.
Meanwhile, private equity research firm PitchBook predicted that the pandemic could see private equity investors "double down" on impact investments and those with an environmental, social or governance (ESG) focus, as they seek out investments that are more resilient to future shocks.
Nonetheless, impact investors will need to tread a careful line if they are to avoid being seen as unduly profiting from the extreme misfortune of individuals and communities - many of whom were already disadvantaged even before the onset of the current crisis.
While the pandemic has dominated the news agenda since the turn of the year, the impact market was already a hotbed of investment activity. Recent years have seen the launch of large impact funds, each with more than $1 billion in assets, including by Apollo, Actis, KKR, Generation Investment Management and TPG.
The launch of these large impact funds has accelerated interest in impact investing - it has also spurred calls for greater scrutiny of what constitutes 'impact', as well as calls for improvements in how impact is measured.
As these and many other trends play out, Environmental Finance intends to bring you the latest news and opinion on Impact, and serve this diverse and dynamic market.
I hope you enjoy the articles and I look forward to having you on the Impact journey with us.
Your feedback or ideas for articles would be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you for reading.
Michael Hurley Senior Reporter – Impact
Tel: +44 (0)20 3031 8327