Guest Blog Post written by Jonelle Maltay during TBLI CONFERENCE™ Nordic 2015. Views and opinions are that of the writer and are not the official views of TBLI CONFERENCE™.
Perspectives from panelists for Trends in Impact Investing: Nordic and Beyond with Karin Malmberg, Ruth Brännvall, Rodolfo Fracassi & Veronique Menou
The general consensus amongst those in the impact investing community is the need to make it more mainstream. During the workshop on impact investing developments in the Nordic region and beyond, the panelists echoed a resounding theme which was the idea of taking impact investing to wall street and main street by expanding the investable sectors. There is room for growth in renewable trade, social housing, SME banking and more.
The ideal scenario would be to have an impact investor network and knowledge platform, which could provide advice on impact investment strategies to fit specific investor profiles. Regardless of whether an investor is impact first or finance first, to get involved in the impact investing space there must be some willingness to look beyond financial return and see the added non-financial value of social or environmental impact. Investors also need to stop viewing impact first versus finance first as either right or wrong, when in fact they are just two sides of the same coin depending on priority.
One of the key issues is sourcing investment opportunities that have potential for impact as well as financial return – and can be accurately measured in both aspects. For entrepreneurs, an investment readiness program could provide advice on funding and capitalization, answering questions related to identifying investable projects and defining appropriate methodologies and criteria for impact measurement. It is also important to assess what the gaps are in the market for specific investments as well as what existing financial instruments are available and can be expanded for this purpose.