Creating Impact—The Promise of Impact Investing

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Investors’ appetite for impact investing—in which they seek to generate positive impact for society alongside strong financial returns—could total as much as $26 trillion, according to the report Creating Impact: The Promise of Impact Investing.

The report is the most comprehensive assessment so far of the potential global market for impact investing. It estimates that as much as $269 trillion—the financial assets held by institutions and households across the world—is potentially available for investment. Channeling just 10 percent of this amount into projects focused on improving social and environmental outcomes would go a long way toward providing the necessary funding for the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to shift to a lower-carbon future.

The report estimates that in public markets involving stocks and bonds, investor appetite could be as high as $21 trillion. An additional $5 trillion could come from private equity, non-sovereign debt, and venture capital. Turning this appetite into actual investments will depend on the creation of investment opportunities and investment vehicles that enable investors to pursue impact and financial returns in ways that are sustainable.

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