The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 and cover 169 targets in a variety of areas, from poverty relief to gender equality. They constitute an urgent call to action, and the UN hopes to meet these goals by 2030, as they provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
The Impact Finance Awards (IFA) are a creation of the AlphaMundi Group Ltd, to mark the first decade of its impact investing practice, and contribute to the evolving perception of impact investing as a key financial instrument to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Impact investing is an emerging field of asset management where environmental or social outcomes are valued as highly as financial returns... Investors in impact funds do not expect to give up financial upside just because they have other objectives.” (Financial Times, 20 September 2018).
The impact investing industry has grown tenfold in the last 5 years. It now numbers hundreds of investment products and hundreds of billions of US dollars in invested assets, and can be integrated in every investment portfolio, across various asset classes.
In 2018, 1,300 impact investors held USD 500 billion in invested impact assets, according to an assessment by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), with 50% of assets held by asset managers and 25% held by the public sector’s Development Finance Institutions. According to the World Bank’s IFC, investor demand for impact investing could amount to USD 26 trillion.
Another 2018 GIIN survey established that 82% of investors achieved their impact targets, and 76% enjoyed financial returns that met or exceeded their expectations.
It’s important to note that impact investing differs substantially from Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, because impact investors can quantify the impact of each of their investment.
To do so, impact investors recognize the importance of standardized metrics. Over 5,000 organizations and 59% of impact investors now use ISO-like indicators defined by the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), to evaluate, communicate and manage the social and environmental performance of their investments.
In addition, the World Bank’s IFC launched in April 2019 its 9 Operating Principles for Impact Management, to ensure that impact considerations are integrated into investment decisions throughout the investment lifecycle. The Principles will increase the transparency and accountability of impact investing, enabling investors to select and compare managers based on impact performance, and have already been adopted by 60 investors managing USD 350 billion in impact assets.
The Awards celebrate the achievements of heroic entrepreneurs and the impact investors who finance them, men and women who dedicate their lives to transform global sustainability challenges into opportunities, who disrupt inefficient markets to create more equitable economies, and who succeed in harnessing the private capital markets to finance public interest solutions on a rapidly increasing scale.
Over the years, we hope that the Impact Finance Awards will help preserve the industry’s integrity as it grows, by celebrating the industry’s most impactful, most profitable, and most sustainable growth solutions for the SDGs, through an open and fair selection process.
The Awards will serve as annual demonstration of the industry’s continued ability to measure and quantify, precisely and transparently, the direct impact of its investments.
By bringing recognition to profitable SDG solutions operating at scale, the Awards will also help catalyze the shift of Financial Sector mindsets and investment allocations to impact products across multiple asset classes.
AlphaMundi Group Ltd is a commercial advisor created in 2007 and based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Group has facilitated more than 100 impact investing transactions worth over USD 50 million to finance the growth of dozens of sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Latin America and Africa, across various sectors including Food, Energy, and Finance. The Group has delegated most of its impact measurement and technical assistance activities to the AlphaMundi Foundation, a charity based in the US and financed with annual Group donations as well as third-party contributions.