Our goal 

Until now, there has been no good answer to the question, “How big is the UK impact investing market?” The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) 2020 Annual Impact Investor Survey estimated the impact investing sector to be at $715 billion globally but could not give a clear sense of the UK’s contribution to the global picture. Big Society Capital’s rigorous UK annual social investment market sizing speaks to the social investment part of the impact investment market but not the whole. Our aim was to provide an answer to this question.

What are we doing to achieve it

Working with our research partners, the professional services firm EY, we have developed a methodology for suitably sizing the UK impact investing market and baselining its size. Working across the impact investment field we obtained data and insights from asset owners, asset managers and industry stakeholders to develop a picture of where the market is today.

Our report, “Estimating and describing the UK impact investing market” is the culmination of these efforts and contains, for the first time, an estimate of the UK impact investing market in its totality. Below is a summary of the reports key findings:

  • The UK impact investment market was worth an estimated £58 billion in 2020.
  • The UK market represents an estimated 3.3-8% of the total global market.
  • Social investors, private equity and venture capital firms and foundations were identified as the leading impact investors in the market today. Institutional investors, were identified as the primary drivers of future growth.
  • Despite the rapid growth in the market, impact investing today still accounts for less than 1% of total AUM in the UK.

The report also incorporates insights from surveys of more than 40 market participants and 20 interviews with relevant industry bodies and subject matter specialists. Key findings from this study include:

  • 97% of survey respondents held the view that over the past two years asset allocation to impact had increased.
  • 64% predicted 10% annual growth in funds flowing to impact investments with 36% forecasting above 20% a year.
  • Healthcare, affordable and clean energy, and sustainable cities and communities are the top focus areas for investment.
  • Approximately 90% of the survey respondents reported that 2020 returns were either in line with or exceeded their targets.
  • 75% of survey respondents are planning to increase their allocation to impact by more than 10% in the next five years. Applying a weighted average of all respondents to current estimated impact AUM results in a potential 15% growth, which would double funds allocated to impact to £100 billion in five years.

In collaboration with

Supported by

Publications

In 2017, Dame Elizabeth Corley, Chair of the Impact Investing Institute, convened the first meeting of the Taskforce for Growing a Culture of Social Impact Investing in the UK. Since then, the impact investing market has developed significantly – but until now there has not been an estimate of the size of the UK market in its totality. Our report, “Estimating and describing the UK impact investing market”, published in partnership with EY and supported by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport and Big Society Capital, sets out to change this.

News & Views

All war, wherever in the world it takes place, imposes huge costs and suffering, particularly on civilians. At this time, the Impact Investing Institute shares the world’s horror at the events unfolding in Ukraine and the suffering the invasion by Russia’s armed forces has brought to everybody in Ukraine.

The Impact Investing Institute has today released a new report with the first estimate of the total size of the UK’s market for impact investment – investment which delivers a positive, measurable social and environmental benefit alongside a financial return. The research, delivered in collaboration with EY, funded by DCMS with additional support from Big Society Capital, estimates the size of the market at £58bn in 2020, and demonstrates the growing importance of this segment of the capital markets, which is fast moving into the mainstream

The Leadership Council, in partnership with the charity pilotlight, have published a new report, The Great British Talent Swap, calling for a sharing of talent and experience between the charitable and commercial sectors.

Events

The Finance for Impact Summit on Monday, 18 July 2022 will bring together leaders of finance, business, governments and other institutions from around the world to discuss how we can better harness finance for the good of people and the planet. This one-day event will be held in person at Mansion House in London, and streamed live to a global audience.

On Tuesday, 1st March, 09:00-11:00 GMT, we launched our report “Estimating and describing the UK impact investing market“, written in collaboration with EY and supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Big Society Capital.