This post was written by Sarah Ritter, Program Coordinator of Insight at Pacific Community Ventures and originally posted on the PCV blog. Sarah recaps our recent launch event of the Impact Investor project. This is part 2 of the recap, for part 1 click here!
As promised in part 1, here is the second installment of InSight’s video highlights from our launch event of The Impact Investor. The event marked the beginning of a two-year project to build data-driven and practitioner-guided knowledge for the rapidly growing field of impact investing, which we are undertaking along with our partners CASE at Duke and ImpactAssets.
The second session focused on the General Partners, identifying the successes and failures from their experiences making direct investments to projects with social and environmental benefits. A central concern of the discussion (and the industry at large) was the struggle between financial and social returns and determining what is most important to measure, and how to measure it. The discussion also shifted to ask not only about the impact coming from the projects demanding the capital but also the impact from the supply (i.e., do impact markets risk simply being an offset mechanism for corporations making a profit from socially irresponsible activities?)
In addition to some of these big picture topics, the conversation began to focus in on some the ‘nitty gritty’ details that will really help to grow impact investing markets. These included:
Defining different business models and investment structures within impact investing and creating better tools to communicate those differences.
Collaborating to make a more cost effective due diligence processes that will lead to a more efficient pipeline of investments.
And determining appropriate exit strategies. Are new instrument needed in to improve the process and capture the needs of impact investments?
The session concluded with another excellent synthesis and analysis by Laura Callanan followed by a closing request from Ben Thornley to continue the dialogue and sharing of experiences as The Impact Investor Project moves forward.
As we prepare for our next set of convenings at SOCAP this fall, we look forward to diving deep into may of the issues raised during these two sessions in Oxford. The project is dependent upon the willingness of investors in the field to share their invaluable experiences and perspectives – we are therefore extremely grateful to those have already participate and look forward to developing additional conversations over the next two years!