Tapping into local research expertise to deepen evidence-based impact investing
Investing in assets that offer measurable social or environmental benefits and financial returns has come a long way from its modest roots in the early 2000s. The Global Impact Investment Network estimates the size of the world’s impact-investing market was at USD715 billion (approximately CAD915 billion) in 2019.
However, the impact-investing industry still faces many challenges. It needs to accelerate its growth with consistency, impact and integrity for the private sector to play a bigger role in addressing pressing development challenges. Central to these development challenges are gender equality and climate action, both of which have been undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of locally relevant evidence and data on priority impact areas is one of the major challenges facing the impact-investing industry. There is also the need to strengthen the industry’s capacity to effectively plan for, measure and account for impact.
National Advisory Boards (NABs) were created in 2015 to drive more capital to improve people’s lives and enhance the environment. A NAB, which is private sector-led, is a local platform with representation from all stakeholder groups needed to redirect significant capital flows towards social and environmental impact. Working in close partnership with the national government, a NAB raises awareness, creates market intelligence, advocates for policy changes and mobilizes additional financial resources for public good. To date, there are 28 national and regional NABs. However, there has been little engagement of the NABs with the local research community for evidence-informed action.
This project will test and promote a structured collaboration between local research organizations and the NABs. The collaboration will aim to inform context-relevant, evidence-based strategies to accelerate the allocation of private capital towards public good. It is expected that the synergies resulting from this collaboration between local researchers and the NABs will give more momentum to the impact investment movement and help achieve its mission of delivering real impact.