180 degree debate on impact investing


Published on

The popular 180 degree debate at Sankalp Forum's annual summit this year will ask a controversial question about impact investing - is it made out to be more than it really is? We've put together diverse opinions from across the sector, add your own and tell us what you think. Is it "a dangerous promise" and "crock" or can it fundamentally change how we do business?

Published in: Economy & Finance, Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

180 degree debate on impact investing

  1. 1. Can Create A Fundamental Mindset Shift in How Society Mobilizes Resources to Address Our Social and Environmental Challenges “When I started this (impact investing) work at Rockefeller, I thought impact investing was about product development, about getting infrastructure like GIIRS and the Global Impact Investing Network launched and supporting a few interesting deals and funds. Now I realize that this is actually about supporting a movement that can create a fundamental mindset shift in how society mobilizes resources to address our social and environmental challenges. Product development is a five- year task. Movement building is a generation-long challenge and is going to require much bolder vision, patience and ambition. If impact investing is just about product development, then only those people working as impact investors can participate. But when we realize impact investing is about fundamental systems change, it becomes a movement in which everyone has a part to play.” - Antony Bugg Levine, Director of the Non-Profit Fund, and co-author of the book ‘Transforming how we make money while making a difference’ during a talk at Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference. Reported by Ben Powell of Agora Partnerships
  2. 2. Lack Of Government Action On Sustainability Leaves a Gap for Impact Investors To Step In“Not one but two global crises are unfolding in disconnect from one another. One crisis is of coursemuch noticed. It is the current recession and a financial mayhem that is spreading through a globalsystem that has become overexposed to risk. Others are neglected as a result: the ever morepressing need to address global warming and the impending ecological crises we face as westruggle to ensure we have sufficient food, water, and energy to satisfy the growing demands of agrowing population and as we cope with extreme weather events… With governments everywherefocused on cutting deficits, these issues seem to be way down the list of priorities… In thesecircumstances, the lack of action or any sense of urgency on the part of governments leaves a gapfor philanthropists and impact investors to step in. The just published Alliance special feature on“resilience investing” identifies three ways in which this agenda can now develop. First, by helpingfoundations and impact investors consider ecological risks when strategizing by bringing existingdata on ecological trends out of the scientific realm and into the domain of economic decisions andaccountability. Second, by directing investment to proposals that protect or regenerate vitalecological assets, and building the resilience of communities and ecosystems in critical regions. Andthird, by getting foundation endowments to influence industries that are accelerating the loss ofresilience in areas such as energy, food, and agriculture.” - Alejandro Litovsky,founder of the Earth Security Initiative and Caroline Hartnell editor of Alliance magazine, in an article titled ‘Philanthropy’s New Bottom Line: A More Sustainable Capitalism’ written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review
  3. 3. Where is the Evidence that Philanthrocapitalism Works?“As someone who grew up in India and has worked for many years inboth private and public foundations, I am also skeptical about what islikely to change as a result of philanthrocapitalism’s focus on money,markets, measurement, and management. I am troubled by the hubristhat often seems to lurk just below the surface of the good-citizenconscience of the very wealthy, and increasingly unnerved by thealignment of fashion, power, and celebrity behind it. Where is theevidence that philanthrocapitalism works, and are there better ways toachieve urgently needed global social progress?” - Kavita N. Ramdas,Executive Director of Ripples to Waves, at Stanford University, in an article authored for Stanford Social Innovation Review
  4. 4. A Dangerous Delusion, Threatening to DivertSupport From Public Action and Civil Society Activism “Judging by the amount of buzz around impact investing, social enterprise and corporate social responsibility, one could be led to believe that these ideas provide the key to social progress in Latin America. But this would be a dangerous delusion, threatening to divert support from the kinds of public action and civil society activism that have reduced poverty and inequality across much of the region to levels that compare quite favorably with the United States. Redistributive policies like raising the minimum wage, investing in education and strengthening the social safety net have had important effects across Latin American societies, mirroring the earlier experiences of successful development in East Asia and elsewhere. These experiences show that only a dynamic market economy can create the surplus that progressive social goals require; but only strong government intervention and sustained citizen pressure can direct the benefits of growth in the long-term public interest.” - Michael Edwards, Former director of Ford Foundation, and author of ‘Why Business Won’t Save The World’ in America’s Quarterly