What’s Holding Back Impact Investing?

With the unveiling of a new report at the White House last Wednesday, the investors who have pioneered the impact investing movement are now urging the U.S. government to create policies that will turbocharge its growth. Seasoned impact investors say there is much more potential to direct private capital towards addressing the world’s pressing social and environmental challenges than what is done today–especially if a number of policies can be tweaked.

Their report details more than two dozen government actions that could both remove existing barriers to impact investing, increase the effectiveness of the government’s own programs, and proactively provide new incentives to encourage growth. “If you were to imagine a crew team on a river, it’s like we don’t have all of the oars in water, because private enterprise has, for the most part, sat on the sidelines,” says Jean Case, CEO of The Case Foundation and an advisory board member. There exists a fear that social and environmental goals of good organizations will be diluted as financial interests blend with what is traditionally charitable work. But advocates say there are safeguards and transparency will help in many situations, and the potential to do good far outweighs the downsides.

In the end, what is needed are more standardized ways for people to access social impact investing opportunities.

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