So, what is impact investing? This module provides the answer and places impact investing in the context of traditional, responsible and sustainable investing. The module also introduces the ‘spectrum of capital’ – a vital aid in explaining impact investing to others – and gives a briefing on the development of impact investing over time and the key global frameworks and standards that govern the market. It also acknowledges some of the challenges that impact investing is addressing as well as the opportunities that are ahead. This section provides the foundational knowledge that you need before you can build your impact skills and expertise.

How to use these resources

Start at the beginning and read across each topic area before moving on to the next. There is no ‘bible’ yet for impact investing. Opinions differ and knowledge has been built up over time. The resources in this section are from authoritative bodies and have lasting value, but it is important to draw on a range of sources. Read this section before moving on to those on the purpose of impact investing and the impact investing market.

Resources

What is impact investing 

Impact investment in context of the wider investment landscape

The spectrum of capital 

The defining characteristics of impact investing

History of impact investing 

Key global frameworks and standards - UN SDGs, the Impact Management Project and the IFC standards 

Challenges  (definition, impact ‘washing’, measurement, myths) and opportunities (demand, data, policy support) and the evolving nature of the market 

Terminology