It is four months since the Impact Investing Institute had its official launch in Sheffield and London, and like everyone else, we are responding to the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating human and economic costs on communities around the world.
Like many other organisations, we are working out which of our activities can continue, given the current situation, and where we should adapt. It is clear to all of us that the world in which we operated only a couple of weeks ago will be very different after the events of 2020.
Helping more money reach those in need
Our main focus is to help more money reach those most in need during these challenging times. To achieve that we are:
- Taking part in regular calls and offering our resources and support to our impact investment colleagues around the world who, like us, are members of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG).
- Supporting an initiative by Social Investment Business, Big Society Capital and others in the UK, to establish a shared emergency liquidity facility with loan contributions from high street banks, which can be accessed by social lenders who can then channel the money to those organisations in the front line of responding to the current crisis.
- Calling on the UK’s banks to do more to support the social sector and contribute to this shared facility and using our networks to achieve that.
- Asking the government for its help to ensure charities and social enterprises can access funding in order to survive the crisis together with social lenders, foundations and others.
- Continuing to develop our thinking around what policy and which financial tools, in the UK and elsewhere, can support investors who want to invest with impact, with the aim of moving impact investment higher up the agenda of those designing the long-term response to the current crisis.
- Sharing and promoting useful COVID-19 resources and tools. For example: The Fuqua School of Business Capital Relief Resource, Good Finance Resource Hub, Bates Wells Coronavirus Insights & Webinars, Charities Aid Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund & Philanthropy Hub, New Philanthropy Capital Resource Hub, Philanthrophy Impact Guide for Donor
Over the next 12 months our focus will, first, be on responding as effectively as we can to the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. But we also hope to make significant progress on other areas of our work.
Activities since our launch
Since November 2019, we have been designing and starting to deliver our work programme while recruiting new team members and pushing ahead with an ambitious engagement plan. Some key achievements and activities since our launch:
- We kicked off the year launching a joint report with Deloitte exploring current practices in technology-enabled impact reporting.
- We responded to a call for views on responsible investment by the Charity Commission, welcoming the commission’s stand that charity trustees should consider whether their investments are informed by and consistent with their charity’s purpose and values.
- We co-hosted a workshop with the Impact Management Project (IMP) on how organisations can integrate the IMP’s approach to measuring and managing impact into their work.
- We set up a pro-bono legal panel with 9 firms currently represented on it. The panel helped us produce our response to the European Commission’s consultation on the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) Inception Impact Assessment.
- As part of our global knowledge exchange, we were pleased to host Cyrille Langendorf who runs the French National Advisory Board on impact investing.
- Our partners Sackers and Bates Wells, with input from the Institute’s Lead Experts, produced a paper on pension trustee fiduciary duty, which provides legal guidance on the compatibility of impact investing. We are looking forward to sharing the findings and key principles of this important work in the next few months.
- Our Board Chair, Lead Experts and CEO have been promoting the impact investing agenda with a wide range of stakeholders. Our CEO represented the Institute at key events including the UK-Africa investment summit, the City of London Corporation’s investment committee dinner, Morgan Stanley’s Global Insights Day, and the launch of the Impact Agora, sponsored by Barclays. She also contributed to the impact investing debate with opinion pieces in City AM and the Financial Times.
- Our Board Chair Dame Elizabeth Corley represented the Institute at the World Economic Forum in Davos. She spoke at the sustainable finance presentation in the SDG Tent, on the role of impact investing at a panel discussion alongside the Green Finance Institute, the City of London Corporation, and Innovate Finance, and supported the World Benchmarking Alliance’s launch of its list of the 2,000 most influential companies for a sustainable future.
- Despite the coronavirus lockdown, we are committed to continuing to engage key stakeholders in our work, albeit virtually.
While we are adapting our work programme in light of the coronavirus situation, we plan to:
- Continue our collaboration and global knowledge exchange with important partners such as the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG), the Impact Management Project, Make My Money Matter and the World Benchmarking Alliance.
- Bridge the information gap between UK investors and developing markets, by working with organisations such as the UK’s development finance institution CDC to make available and communicate impact investment data.
- Work with Pensions for Purpose and the UK’s top 75 pension funds to address common concerns such the compatibility of fiduciary duty and impact investing.
- Work with professional bodies and trade associations to develop training and qualifications for investment professionals on impact investing.
- Support the IMP+ACT Alliance to promote their tech platform that allows investors to disclose information about the impacts of their investments on people, planet, and the economy.
- Develop and support policies, such as compulsory non-financial reporting standards and a “transition” sovereign bond, that will accelerate the growth of the impact investing market ahead of the UK hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) when it is rescheduled and the G7 summit in 2021.
Our work benefits from the diversity of our network and we want to stay connected. If you want to stay updated about our work please subscribe to our updates, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, visit our website, or get in touch with us at comms[at]impactinvest.org.uk.