Impact management project

Investor contribution in public and private markets

Report | Free | Jan 01, 2019

Everyone knows that enterprises have enormous impacts on people and the planet - but what do investors specifically add to those impacts?

The concept of “investor contribution” is under scrutiny. Public markets investors are not just being asked about the impact of the enterprises they invest in; they’re being challenged as to how they’re making any difference to that impact. Even within private markets, where investments in untested geographies or business models have long been assumed to be impactful, asset managers are increasingly challenged to demonstrate and disclose their value added.

The purpose of this note is to explain the current Impact Management Project (IMP) consensus on the topic of "investor contribution" – that is, the contribution that the investor makes to enable enterprises (or intermediary investment managers) to achieve impact – and to solicit further feedback, examples and best practices from the investment community.

Since 2016, the IMP has provided a forum for over 2,000 practitioners to agree on norms for impact measurement and management. In 2018, the IMP led a consultative process to co-create more detailed norms on a number of highpriority topics, including investor contribution. This note reflects those norms as they currently stand, and references various documented contributions of people whose expertise has been essential input (excerpted in the Appendix).

In 2019 the IMP will work with investors across sectors and asset classes, as well as with specific members of the IMP Structured Network, to articulate and disseminate consensus on good practice in measuring and managing investor contribution. The IMP aims to publish this consensus as guidance that enables market participants to communicate investor contribution using a generally accepted language. 

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