Just how far does the reach of impact investing extend?
That was the question we sought to answer when PEI teamed up with Brighton-based illustrator Lee Playle at the Global Impact Investing Network Investor Forum in Paris. The idea was to create an illustrated A-Z based on the suggestions of the conference delegates of which each letter could represent.
The challenge was as much a creative endeavour as a journalistic enterprise. Could our artist succeed in producing 26 illustrations by the end of the two-day conference? Would the resulting two-metre by three-metre illustrated wall, which became one of the talking points of the forum, adequately encapsulate the breadth of vision of the impact movement?
The answer was a resounding yes. “It’s awesome, just awesome,” said impact investor Rebecca Buyers. “I think it does a really good job of pictorially displaying what impact investment is.”
Similarly impressed was Preeti Sinha, chief executive of the Geneva-based Financing for Development Ventures. “I think it’s a whole new interpretation of what our priorities are for impact,” said Sinha, nominating that L should be for low-cost housing because basic living standards are core to the impact mission.
The big private equity players, such as Bain Capital, KKR and TPG, have all launched funds targeting impact investment in recent years, and they were well represented at the GIIN Forum. “One of my favourite letters is C for clean technology,” said Emma Tuzinkiewicz, a manager at KKR. “I think it’s really inspiring for the global world right now to think of the transition from fossil fuels to different types of clean technology.”
Such was the popularity of the A-Z that we decided to turn it into this supplement. No one is claiming this is the definitive list – we could repeat the exercise all over again and get 26 entirely different suggestions – but then that is the compelling thing about impact: it’s a mission that knows no bounds.
So whether it’s B for Blockchain – and the tech opportunities offered by impact investing – or Y for Young Blood – and the Millennial Generation who are among the asset class’s biggest advocates, we hope you, like us, marvel at the breadth of vision on display here.
Impact investing may have its critics but it is certainly placing a whole fresh spin on the world of ESG, as the A-Z amply demonstrates.