Viewpoint: What impact investors can learn from activists

Thursday, March 22, 2018

By Morgan Simon

Impact investment is a relatively new phenomenon – the trillion-dollar trend most people have never heard of.

In 2016 , $119 billion was invested in projects seeking both a social and financial return, such as clean energy and worker owned cooperatives, according to the Global Impact Investing Network, an organisation that seeks to publicize and offer advice on impact investing.

But let’s face it: most of these investments are made from the 40th floor of a Wall Street skyscraper. Impact investors may have great intentions, but how do we know if these investments are actually doing social good if we are so far away from the people our investments affect?

The good news is that, just as there are thousands of professionals globally dedicated to the fine art of money management, there are just as many people dedicated to social justice, whether taking action in their own communities or working within non-profit organizations.

Impact investors can learn from these activists how to ensure their investments are actually doing social good.

I have been part of the impact investment world for over 17 years, helping endowments, wealthy individuals and foundations to increase their social and environmental impact with their over $150 billion of investment.

In that time, I’ve been grateful to learn the following lessons from social justice activists – lessons that all impact investors should bring into their practice.

Photo courtesy of miuenski miuenski.

Source: Thomson Reuters News (link opens in a new window)

impact investing, nonprofits