Estimating and describing the UK impact investing market

Published on
7th March 2022

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.

As well as producing an estimate of market size for the first time, the report also analyses the key attributes and actors within the market today, the levers and drivers that can support its growth and the trends that are likely to dominate it in the future.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 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 £100bn in five years.

You can download the full report below.

Related files

Estimating and describing the UK impact investing market

File published on 7th March 2022

Additional files

Estimating and describing the UK impact investing market – 2 pager

File published on 7th March 2022