This article was co-written with Carolien de Bruin and Joel Bryce.
September marked the completion of Phase 1 of a year-long initiative in which the World Economic Forum (The Forum) engaged Deloitte on its Mainstreaming Impact Investing initiative. The purpose of the initiative was two-fold:(1) Better understand whether the buzz and excitement with impact investing is more than “a flash in the pan” and if it represents a structural shift in how investments are made, especially as it relates to mainstream or institutional investors; and (2) Assess who are making impact investments, and – as importantly – who are not, today.
In this context, impact investing, in its simplest form, is leveraging one’s investment portfolio to intentionally create social value (of course, and financial returns). Going into this initiative, we knew that many high net-worth individuals, foundations, and development organizations look to create social and environmental value with their investment portfolio. However, we were keen to understand whether “mainstream investors” such as pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, university endowments, and other large-scale asset owners were making a play in the space, and if not, why.