Top 4 Themes in Impact Investing Right Now

By Sonya Dreizler via

While I was at the Total Impact Conference in Boston recently I noticed the same themes kept popping up in conversation, both on and off the stage. For photos from and highlights of event, click here

1. How do we effectively measure impact?

Although this theme is one I’ve seen before, the discussion feels more mature now. There is less talk about whether to measure impact and more talk about how to do it effectively. The “how” continues to be challenging, both in public and private investments. Best practices are focusing on materiality, and looking at impact holistically to consider  the various communities each investment affects and what positive impact looks like to those communities.

What I’m thinking about: Are we measuring impact so we can report it to the client to demonstrate our value? Or are we measuring impact to improve our own investing processes?

2. Why are ESG ratings so confusing?

There are so many companies offering ESG equity ratings right now. Since each company measures different aspects of a business and uses different analytics, the same investment can receive a wide variety of ESG scores and rankings.

What I’m thinking about 1: Portfolio and investment managers must understand what rankings are based on and they mustn’t take the grades at face value.

What I’m thinking about 2: How does each firm find the data and analysis that’s the best fit for their business? 

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