The demand for ESG investing at wealth management companies is on the rise. Although the idea of socially responsible investing (SRI) goes back centuries, the past decade (and particularly the past year) has seen a spike in the demand for ESG investing (which takes environmental, social and governance practices into consideration), as well as increased demand for impact investing, which goes further than simply reviewing ESG factors and focuses on investments that create positive outcomes beyond financial return.
In 2020, according to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the size of the impact investing market topped $715 billion (U.S.) worldwide. As impact investing has grown, it has also become more complex—sparked by investor demands for new types of impact investment opportunities.
That’s why we’ll be deconstructing the three biggest trends in impact investing in 2021 on April 15, in a free webinar you’re invited to join. Our guests are leaders in Canada’s impact investing space and will be speaking about three key types of impact investing:
Getting in on early-stage capital investments
As Mari Mathews describes it, her role at Spring Activator is a simple one: “We exist to change the world through entrepreneurship.” Spring works with both impact investors who are driving the demand for ESG investing and entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital—supporting everything from hyper-local impact entrepreneurs in Vancouver to start-ups across Canada and the U.S. In each case, she says, the businesses have launched (even if the product isn’t yet on the market) and most have some revenue.
Mathews says there is growing interest among investors to “get involved” with some of the efforts being undertaken by impact-driven companies, with Spring ultimately trying to build access to deal flow. She highlights Spring’s Impact Investor Challenge—a 10-week training program for early-stage impact investors and entrepreneurs—as one example of those efforts.
Making an impact close to home
The driving focus at SVX is place-based impact investing—what the Urban Institute defines as “the local deployment of impact capital: investments made with the intent to yield both financial and social and/or environmental returns to address the needs of marginalized communities.” That community could be a city or a region, says Spence, but the idea is that investors are having an impact in the area in which they live.
“It would provide another important source of capital,” says Spence. “Government used to build tens of thousands of social housing units a year; now, it’s maybe one or two thousand. And the need is just incredible.”
Addressing the climate crisis through impact investing
While Genus clients care about social impact, it’s the climate emergency that has really animated them in recent years, and has driven the demand for ESG investing, says Mike Thiessen. That’s why we created the suite of Genus Fossil Free funds, giving clients a clear path to investing in leaders in renewable energy while avoiding the oil, coal and gas companies that are accelerating climate change.