Impact investing: Transforming how we make money while making a difference

This article provides an introduction to impact investing concepts, the history and growth of impact investing, and examples of impact investing.

It discusses the disruption of existing philanthropic vs profit-making investment systems and opportunities for creating investment systems that generate financial as well as social and environmental returns.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Kaye Stevens.

Authors and their affiliation

 Antony Bugg-Levine is a Managing Director at the Rockefeller Foundation where he leads the Foundation’s Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing initiative, he is also an associate adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School.

Jed Emerson is Executive Vice President of ImpactAssets, Senior Advisor to the Sterling Group (Hong Kong), and Senior Fellow with the University of Heidelberg’s Center on Social Investing.

Key features

 The article discusses how impact investing for blended value - financial returns as well as social and environmental impacts – is disrupting the view that investment for profit is separate from social and environmental problem-solving. Separate systems for profit-making and philanthropic activities will need to change; this includes business models, laws and regulations, professional pathways and capital markets. Of particular relevance to evaluation is the need to create a common language and measurement systems for identifying enterprises that create profit as well as social value. 

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

 This is a useful resource for understanding the historical and current contexts and dynamics of impact investing. 

Why would you recommend it to other people?

 As an introduction to impact investing.


2011 Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson, Innovations / volume 6, number 3