The impact investing industry continues to witness impressive growth and is increasingly recognized by and involving institutional investors, corporations, wealth advisors and governments. Private investment is becoming increasingly critical to emerging industries that address major social and environmental challenges — urgent problems like air pollution red alerts in China, skyrocketing healthcare costs in the US, persistent drought throughout North and sub-Saharan Africa, and a rising number of contaminated water cases in cities the world over, including our own.
A 2016 GIIN survey of 156 investors documented an astounding USD 77bn in impact investing assets, up from USD 10.3bn in 2013. The survey excluded deals less than 10mn and only tracked self-reported investments by investors who have made at least five impact investing transactions, indicating that there are additional, and likely significant, unaccounted for assets. In an analysis of over 59,000 English language articles and blog posts from US and UK outlets vetted for source reliability and significance, Monitor 360 and the Omidyar Network found that 70% of the conversations around impact investing were positive, with many citing it as an industry that is taking off and ripe with opportunities reaping reliable and attractive financial returns. Across industries and issue areas, companies seeking financial and social returns have often outperformed those with purely financial motivations.
The rise of impact investing means greater inclusion of traditional sources of capital, more opportunities for investors and a greater potential to positively impact people and planet through innovation and investment. It also means an increase in organizations producing research and advice for investors looking to deploy capital in support of their values. Discerning genuine impact investments from socially responsible, sustainable, ESG and negatively screened investments requires a deep understanding of specific industries, financial markets and evaluation mechanisms. Investors make the best decisions when they have the right circle of trusted advisors helping them invest their capital.
While each of these investment strategies is valuable, at Boundless we take it upon ourselves to help investors, family offices, foundations and wealth advisors understand the difference and find companies, funds and projects with measurable positive social and environmental outcomes. That’s why Boundless is quickly becoming the go-to resource for industry research and experts. We can uncover impact investment opportunities that yield both impressive financial and impact outcomes. And we can make sure you invest in the right future for your family.
Boundless has built an impressive community of shared values over the past 3 years, and this common understanding is strengthened by our members, partners and collaborative efforts to conduct rigorous research and promote shared deal flow of reliable impact investment opportunities across geographies and sectors. We made terrific progress in 2016 and are poised to grow and continue to provide independent, insightful guidance on the most effective impact investments in 2017.
We are gearing up for a really busy 2017. Among our many efforts, we are launching a project to analyze impact investing opportunities that address labor rights and support more ethical supply chains, developing an investment mechanism to save the monarch butterfly’s sanctuary in Mexico, deepening our understanding of 3-5 emerging industries that curb food waste and then organizing a business plan competition to move capital towards the most promising companies. We are also continuing our important work to bring common standards of measurement to US K-12 education technology, and to better define how to measure environmental impact across the entire supply chain for solar, wind and smart grid technologies, so we can continue making important advances in those markets.
But we know we will only get there by working together and by reaching out to those who are not yet part of our community. Cultivating and expanding our network means a greater exchange of knowledge between investors with common interests, more resources to conduct and publish research, and an increased capacity to activate that research through the development of finance mechanisms and by designing results-oriented convenings.
A huge thank you to all of our supporters, investors and members for enabling us to provide the best research and diligence to those looking to make the best investments for a truly sustainable, healthy and secure future!