The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines “impact investments” as “investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.”  Investments can be made in emerging as well as developed markets with returns at below- or above-market rates. Impact investors are typically focused on social and/or environmental issues and place capital in businesses or non-profits that have a positive impact on enterprises. Key criteria for impact investors is the evaluation of both financial and social/environmental impact performance of their investment targets.


2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey.   The 7th annual survey by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is based on an analysis of the activities of 209 of the world’s leading impact investing organizations that currently manage USD 114 billion in impact investing assets.  The report presents investors’ perspectives on key issues, analysis of their investment activity, asset allocations by geography, sector, and investment instrument, impact measurement practice, and performance; as well as market segmentation, the role of below-market-rate capital in impact investing,  and impact investing in public equities. New topics also include investors’ commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

PE/VC Impact Investing Index & Benchmark Statistics (June, 2016).  This report by Cambridge Associates and the GIIN provides benchmark statistics based on data compiled from 63 funds, including fully liquidated partnerships, formed between 1998 and 2014. The focus focus of this benchmark is private funds with a social impact objective.  this benchmark restricts itself to those funds that target risk-adjusted market-rate returns.

Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark (2016).  Cambridge Associates and the GIIN produced the first comprehensive analysis of the financial performance of market rate private equity and venture capital impact investing funds. This survey comprised 51 private investment (PI) funds, representing a range of  social impact objectives, across geographies and sectors. Between 1998 and 2004,  the benchmark has returned 6.9% to investors versus 8.1% for the comparative universe, but much of the performance in more recent years remains unrealized.

The Business Value of Impact Measurement (2016). This study finds five major drivers of value derived from impact measurement and management:  revenue growth, improving operational effectiveness and efficiency, investment decisions, marketing and reputation building, and strategic alignment and risk mitigation.

State of the Market: The Annual Impact Investor Survey (2016). In this GIIN survey, 158 respondents manage a total of USD 77.4 billion in impact investing assets and they plan to grow capital committed by 16% in 2016.

IRIS 4.0 (2016).  The latest GIIN produced IRIS is the catalog of generally accepted performance metrics that leading impact investors use to measure and manage social, environmental, and financial performance of their investments, to evaluate deals, and to grow the credibility of the impact investing industry.

IRIS Focus on Impact Objectives (2015). This Data Brief, drawn from nearly 5,000 organizations, focuses on the impact objectives of reporting organizations that comprise well-defined social and/or environmental goals that are achievable. And, includes a focused set of analyses on impact objectives as they relate to other characteristics of reporting organizations.

Insight Report: Impact Investments 2015 – Global Opportunities.  This report can be ordered online; it provides insights into the rise of impact investments in the wealth management sector. It analyzes the market potential of impact investments in six regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Eyes on the Horizon: The Impact Investor Survey. (2015).  This fifth annual survey on impact investing by JP Morgan and the GIIN  reports that impact investments under management climbed to $60 billion for the 146 investors surveyed; up from $46 billion reported in 2014 for the 125 investors surveyed.  

 Spotlight on the Market: The Impact Investor Survey. (2014). This report presents the findings of the fourth annual impact investor survey conducted by The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and J.P. Morgan.  Survey participants indicated impact investment characteristics as:  80% viewed financial returns are essential, and 71% indicated that determining impact objectives at the time of investment is essential.

Investors Pouring More Into Impact Investment. (2014).  J.P. Morgan survey finds financial returns and impact satisfy most investors (banks, pension funds, governments, foundations). Investors expected to allocate $12.7 billion this year, and anticipated a 31% increase in the number of deals. Their fundraising target in 2014 is $4.5 billion, compared with a $2.8 billion target last year.  Collectively these investors managed $46 billion in impact investments

Perspectives on Progress: The Impact Investor Survey.  (2013). The report sheds light on this nascent and growing market. Respondents to the survey committed USD 8bn to impact investments in 2012, and that they plan to commit USD 9bn in 2013.

Achieving social impact at scale: Case studies of seven pioneering co-mingling social investment funds. (2013).  Foundations across the world are increasingly looking towards social investment as a tool to help them to achieve their social mission. Alongside grants, growing numbers of foundations are providing different forms of repayable finance to social enterprises and charities to enable them to tackle poverty and disadvantage, strengthen communities, create jobs and drive growth.

Social & Environmental Due Diligence From the Impact Case to the Business Case. (2013) In this report Root Capital posits that social and environmental due diligence can also create financial benefits that partially or fully offset the costs involved for lenders and investors.