What is impact investing? Fundamentally, all investing has impact, whether it be for good or ill. The idea behind impact investing, however, is explicitly about using investment capital, not just to maximize economic return, but for social benefit. The concept was coined at an event hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2007. It has since spread far and wide.
Not all impact investing is alike. Often, impact investing has been oversold. What studies that purport to show that you don’t have sacrifice a penny of economic return to have positive social impact reveal is that the concept of impact investment has often watered down. At the same time, as the articles in this section show, there are a growing number of efforts to employ impact investment meaningfully—to provide investment capital that, by limiting economic returns and challenging conventional economic definitions of value, can help build a truly democratic economy.
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