Jun 07, 2018

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has published the eighth edition of its Annual Impact Investor Survey, the most comprehensive collection and assessment of data on the global impact investing market. Comprising data and insights from 229 of the world’s leading impact investors, the report provides in-depth analysis of market activity and trends, covering topics such as: capital allocations by sector and geography, indicators of market development and industry challenges, approaches to impact measurement and management, and financial and impact performance. Additionally, for the first time, this year’s report includes a five-year trends analysis of growth and changes in the industry.

Respondents collectively manage over USD 228 billion in impact investing assets, a figure which serves as the latest best-available ‘floor’ for the size of the impact investing market.

Some key findings from this year’s survey report include:

The impact investing industry is growing. Over half of the investors surveyed made their first impact investment in the last ten years, showing that there are many new entrants to the market. In 2017, respondents invested over USD 35 billion into over 11,000 deals, and indicated plans to increase capital invested by 8% in 2018.

The impact investing market is diverse. Top sectors to which respondents have allocated capital are financial services, energy, and microfinance. While allocations have grown across all sectors and geographies over the past five years (at a robust rate of 13% per annum overall), growth has been particularly strong in segments that historically accounted for a smaller share of investments – such as education and food & agriculture in terms of sectors and Oceania and East & Southeast Asia in terms of geographies – thus indicating expansion in investor interests.

Overwhelmingly, impact investors report performance in line with both financial and impact expectations. A majority of respondents indicated that their investments have met or exceeded their expectations for impact (97%) and financial (91%) performance.

Impact investors demonstrate a strong commitment to measuring and managing impact. Nearly all respondents measure the social and/or environmental performance of their impact investments. They use a mix of proprietary metrics, qualitative information, the GIIN’s IRISaligned metrics, and other tools and frameworks. The majority of respondents (76%) set impact targets for some or all of their investments to track progress toward their social/environmental goals.

Investors are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many investors are recognizing the power of their capital to help achieve the SDGs. 76% of impact investors track their investment performance to the SDGs or plan to do so in the future.

Impact investors note that there are remaining challenges that need to be addressed as the industry continues to grow. The most commonly cited challenges facing the growth of the impact investing industry are: the ‘lack of appropriate capital across the risk/return spectrum’ and the ‘lack of common understanding of the definitions and segments of the market.’

Read the full press release here