The Impact Investing Institute which aims to accelerate the growth and improve the effectiveness of impact investing, launches this week at events in Sheffield and London.

The Institute is an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of, addressing barriers to, and increasing confidence in investing for impact. It will promote more effective ways for individuals to use their savings and investments to help address social challenges as well as gain financial returns; facilitate the flow of capital to impact investment; and collaborate with national governments, regulators and multilateral bodies to influence policy and advocate for impact investment.

Sarah Gordon, chief executive of the Impact Investing Institute and former business editor at the Financial Times, says: “The Impact Investing Institute is launching at a particularly propitious time. There is growing awareness of the urgent need for more capital to address social challenges in the UK and elsewhere, and to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. At the same time, more and more people want to use their pensions and savings in a way that benefits society and the environment, as well as making a financial return.”

The Institute has three objectives:

  • Mobilise big pools of capital, such as defined contribution pension funds, to increase their impact.
  • Make capital more accountable, by working on initiatives to improve the effectiveness and accountability of capital seeking to have a positive impact.
  • Empower people to save and invest in line with their values, by addressing barriers that prevent people from investing for impact.

Four key initiatives the Institute will undertake from January 2020:

  • Partner with Pensions for Purpose on a programme to improve confidence and competence in impact investing for the pensions industry.
  • Collaborate with the Impact Management Project to provide digital tools to allow investors to assess and compare the impact of their investments.
  • Partner on a knowledge exchange programme to support the establishment of a new national advisory board on impact investment in Ghana.
  • Collaborate with the World Benchmarking Alliance to develop global benchmarks focused on SDG impact, including a financial system benchmark.

The Institute, which was announced in June, is based in London and brings together two previous groups: the UK National Advisory Board on Impact Investing and the Implementation Taskforce on Growing a Culture of Social Impact Investing in the UK.

Sir Harvey McGrath, former chair of the UK National Advisory Board, Man Group and Prudential and current chair of Big Society Capital, will chair the Institute’s Advisory Council, and Dame Elizabeth Corley, former chair of the Taskforce and former CEO of Allianz Global Investors, will chair the Institute’s Board*.

Impact investing presents tremendous opportunities to help address some of the most pressing social challenges while earning financial returns,” says Sir Harvey McGrath. “The Impact Investing Institute is at the forefront of shaping a growing movement that will have a major impact in the UK and internationally.”

Dame Elizabeth Corley says: “The Impact Investing Institute is a response to the widespread need for more information and guidance on impact investing to address current barriers to growth in this rapidly developing industry. The Institute will build and encourage deeper links between institutional investors and the social sector, and help respond to consumer desire for more transparency on what their money does. 

“I am delighted that the Institute’s Board combines broad investment and impact expertise with experience in mainstream and social investment management. We are all committed to enabling practical developments so that more capital will flow to solve social challenges.”

Mark Norbury, chief executive of UnLtd and member of the coalition for the Future of Social Investment, says, “The world faces deep social issues and while social entrepreneurs deliver brilliant solutions to many of these, they face real challenges in being able to grow and scale their impact. The affordability and flexibility of the investment these entrepreneurs are able to access is critical to their success – and to the positive impact they have on millions of lives. The Impact Investing Institute will work closely with the sector to bring in the needs, impact and sustainability of social entrepreneurs.”

The Institute has broad backing across the financial services and social sector, and has been supported by private firms alongside the City of London Corporation, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for International Development.
A number of leading financial services firms have agreed to be founding supporters of the Institute, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, BlackRock, CFA Institute, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Credit Suisse International, Generation Investment Management, Hermes Investment Management, Investec Asset Management, Schroders and Triodos Bank.

The Impact Investing Institute, as the successor organisation to the UK National Advisory Board on impact investing, is part of a global network of advisory boards, grouped together in the Global Steering Group for impact investment. It will work in partnership with others in the UK and outside it to drive greater awareness and adoption of impact investment domestically and internationally.


For further information:

Catrin Thomas [email protected]

Notes to editors:

* The Board of Directors includes:

  • Dame Elizabeth Corley, chair
  • Sarah Gordon, chief executive
  • Caroline Mason CBE, chief executive, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • Cliff Prior, chief executive, Big Society Capital
  • David Carrington, former member, Supervisory Board, Triodos Bank
  • Ida Levine, principal, Two Rivers Associates
  • Jamie Broderick, former head, UBS Wealth Management, UK and Jersey
  • Laurie Spengler (from January 2020), impact investment banker, CDC board member, and industry contributor
  • Nick Temple, chief executive, Social Investment Business
  • Nick Bensted-Smith, chair, Financial Investment Board, City of London Corporation
  • Olivia Dickson, non-executive director, Financial Reporting Council
  • Sir Roger Gifford, senior banker, SEB, and chair, Green Finance Institute
  • Steven Serneels (from January 2020), chief executive and board member, European Venture Philanthropy Association
  • Will Goodhart, chief executive, CFA Society of the UK

What is impact investment?

Impact investment is investment made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

About the Impact Investing Institute

The Impact Investing Institute is an independent, non-profit organisation which aims to accelerate the growth and improve the effectiveness of the impact investing market. Its vision is that lives improve, as more people choose to use their savings and investments to help solve social challenges, as well as seeking a financial return. For more information please visit and follow its progress on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Additional Quotes
“ShareAction has been helping people understand what happens to their pensions and savings for more than 10 years. More and more people want to see their money invested for the good of our communities and to protect nature. The formation of the Impact Investing Institute is a hugely welcome step in empowering and educating people to unlock deep change in and through finance. I’m excited to ally our efforts with theirs.” Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive, ShareAction

“An increasing number of consumers want their savings and investments to have tangible social benefits in line with their values, as well as generating a financial return. The Impact Investing Institute will help to encourage the flow of capital into delivering practical solutions to major social issues across the globe. We’re delighted to support the Institute and want to ensure the UK remains a world leader when it comes to impact investing.”  Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation

“One of the main challenges facing pension trustees, when considering an allocation to impact investment, is the lack of accessible information on this topic. The Impact Investing Institute will deliver an important platform to enable a broader understanding of the sector. Pensions for Purpose welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Institute to build on the UK’s existing impact investing offering and bring about a greater level of clarity and understanding of the sector to institutional investors, pension funds, social enterprises and others involved in supporting the movement towards more responsible, sustainable and impactful investing.” Karen Shackleton, Director, Pensions for Purpose

Impact investment is one of the most innovative strategies, purposefully disrupting traditional allocations across all asset classes, in pursuit of impact and the SDGs. The new Impact Investing Institute in the UK will accelerate the impact investment movement through its ability to convene dynamic decision makers and co-create solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. We warmly welcome them to the GSG family.” Amit Bhatia, CEO, The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG)

“A vision for more equitable, sustainable and prosperous societies is mobilising more people and organisations to get behind impact investment. The Impact Investing Institute is an important addition to the landscape at the right time; its capacity to adapt lessons and intersect with, as well as inform global practice will accelerate progress in and well beyond the UK.” Rosemary Addis, Executive Director, Impact Strategist and Trustee GSG

“Right now, the impact investing industry faces a critical opportunity to engage a much broader set of investors – from large institutions to regular wage earners saving for retirement – in a way that moves us all toward a more equitable society and a more sustainable future for our planet. The Global Impact Investing Network welcomes the launch of the Impact Investing Institute, and we know it will be an important ally in this shared cause. The Institute has the potential to play a meaningful role in ensuring that impact investing maximises its potential to improve the livelihoods of people in the United Kingdom and around the world.” Amit Bouri, CEO & Co-Founder, Global Impact Investing Network