Introducing the place-based impact investing learning hub


The UK is a country of long-term entrenched place-based inequalities. The Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit have combined to move these place-based inequalities to centre stage in public debate – alongside a search for effective and sustainable ways of tackling them. The need for more public investment is undeniable and the political will, through the Government’s levelling up agenda, appears to be in place. There is now a significant opportunity for responsible, patient private capital to step in, join public investment and deliver positive environmental and social impact in places and communities across the country.

In May 2021 working in partnership with The Good Economy and Pensions for Purpose, the Institute published a white paper, “Scaling up institutional investment for place-based impact”, in which we framed this new investment approach. The paper describes and conceptually frames – Place-Based Impact Investment (PBII) – an emerging investment practice that has the intention to yield financial, social, and environmental returns that address the needs of specific places and specific populations to enhance local economic resilience, shared prosperity, and sustainable development. The report highlights that place-based impact investing can deliver both financial returns and address long standing inequalities between regions and places. Despite that win-win PBII continues to be an underinvested theme by institutional investors.

Having delivered this paper, the Institute is committed to raising awareness and understanding of PBII across 2021-22 and making it easier for investors, in particular institutional investors, to consider the opportunities presented by UK place-based impact investing. This place-based impact investing learning module is core to that endeavour, aiming to support investors interested to develop their work in place with practical tools and insights. Across this year we will be publishing an array of useful content on this platform to encourage and support investors intent on delivering place-based approaches.

This first wave of content contains summaries of the key elements of the initial white paper released in May 2021. There is therefore a significant focus on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) experience of PBII, as this was the investor group with which much of the initial work was developed. Despite that, much of the material remains applicable to a broad swathe of investors: additionally across this year we will build out material suitable for a variety of investors, including the UK banking sector, to deliver and be inspired by the PBII agenda.

Please be in touch with [email protected] if you have ideas or contributions you would like to make to the PBII learning hub.

How to use these resources


  • The first section of this module looks at what place-based impact investing is by introducing a conceptual model and describing the main traits and five pillars of place-based impact investing.


  • The second section examines place-based impact investing using the examples of pension funds active in delivering investment in place and offering useful evidence, good practice and case studies.


  • The last section introduces an impact framework for place-based impact investing including theories of change for core thematics within PBII.


Place-based impact investments are made with the intention to yield appropriate risk-adjusted financial returns as well as positive local impact, with a focus on addressing the needs of specific places to enhance local economic resilience, prosperity and sustainable development.

Local government pension funds have a legacy and interest in local investing. If 5% of LGPS funds were allocated to local investment this would unlock £16 billion for place-based impact investing, more than matching public investment in levelling up.

The Place-Based Impact Investing (PBII) Reporting Framework has six components providing the fundamental elements typically underpinning a robust impact investment strategy and aligned with the Impact Investing Principles for Pensions.