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State of the Field and Practice of Impact Investing

SOCAP Global January 3, 2022

A SOCAP21 Session on Where Impact Investing Is Today, Where It’s Going, and How to Make It Better in 2022

As ongoing crises continue to underscore the limitations of our institutions, impact investing is gaining traction in the mainstream as a potential path forward in building an economy that works for all. During this annual session, panelists reflect on developments and innovations in the field over the past year, as well as how impact investing should be situated within societal conversations, such as the post-pandemic “new normal,” stakeholder accountability, dismantling systemic racism, and beyond.

In addressing the developments of the year, a few themes emerged in the conversation, including the recognition that how impact investing itself is designed will matter. “Impact investing has the greatest role to play in the near future and in transforming systems long term. … Bottom-up community investing and top-down structural economic reform is where we have been focusing on the last year,” shared Fran Seegull, President of U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, during this SOCAP 21 Session.

Impact investing also continues to grapple with how to change the structures that limit the allocation of funds and leadership roles to traditionally underserved populations, including People of Color and women. “(We must) understand that risk is perception, and it’s cultural. What we say is ‘risky’ exposes our own indoctrination to the norms. … We need to think about who is risky, who is labeled risky,” said Monique Aiken, Managing Director at The Investment Integration Project.

And accountability — is the field of impact investing as a whole achieving the positive change in the world it is seeking to achieve — is paramount. As Cathy Clark, Faculty Director at CASE at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, explained, “I think we’re in what I’m calling an impact accountability and management moment. Impact investing — people are aware of it, people are aware of ESG, they are interested in doing it. … We know that the allocations of people putting money into ESG have doubled in the past year, and yet our impact on the big sustainable development problems that we have are actually worse. We are putting more effort, more money into our problems globally and getting worse results. … This is the year of fixing our norms so we go forward in the right direction, not in the wrong direction.”

Watch the entire session below to hear more about the current state of impact investing and where it should, and could, go — if we all work together.

One goal we can all get behind, shared by Aiken: “Make justice normal.”

Watch State of the Field and Practice of Impact Investing

SOCAP21 - State of the Field and Practice of Impact Investing

In this SOCAP21 session on impact investing, we hear from:

Impact Investing
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