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From the Margins to the Mainstream - Assessment of the Impact Investment Sector and Opportunities to Engage Mainstream Investors

Author: World Economic Forum
Date: September 2013

The World Economic Forum Report highlights the potential of impact investing to generate market returns while addressing key social and environmental challenges. The report provides a market assessment and recommendations for how mainstream investors can more actively engage in impact investing. The overall objective of the Mainstreaming Impact Investing initiative is to provide an initial assessment of the sector and identify the factors constraining the acceleration of capital into the field of impact investing. The report is divided into five key sections.

From the Margins to the Mainstream lays out several key recommendations for how the impact investment sector can reach scale. This includes calling on impact investment funds to be transparent about the financial returns that are generated; for impact enterprises to proactively measure and report on social and environmental impact; for governments to provide tax relief for early-stage investments in which public benefit is created; and for philanthropic endowments to commit their investment capital to impact investments and not just to programmatic allocations.

The report is a culmination of a year-long research initiative of the World Economic Forum’s Investors Industries community that engaged over 150 mainstream investors, business executives, philanthropic leaders and policy-makers through interviews, workshops and conference calls. Several key financial institutions provided input, including, but not limited to, financial institutions such as Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Omidyar Network, UBS and Zurich Insurance as well as research institutions such as Duke University, Harvard University, Pacific Community Ventures Rockefeller Foundation and The Global Impact Investing Network.

Geography: Global

Type of study: Consulting research

Relevant for: LP, GP All, Fund of funds, Associate

Source: World Economic Forum Report