What will become of impact investing?

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The concept of “impact investing” has suddenly become one of the hottest topics in the world of finance. New investment funds are continually springing up that claim they operate according to their own version of impact investing. Meanwhile, in the international financial press, the word “impact” is often being used to refer to ESG investments (i.e. companies that factor in corporate commitment to environmental, social, and governance issues as investment targets). But what actually constitutes an impact investment?
We shared some reflections about the ongoing evolution in this industry with Luciano Balbo, founder of Oltre Venure and one of the first impact investors in Europe, who in 2014 helped set up the Impact Investing Lab at SDA Bocconi.
Impact investing emerged around 20 years ago, mainly as an advanced model of philanthropy and venture philanthropy, with the aim of pursuing financial and social returns through new scalable business models. The ambitious objective was to supersede the net dichotomy of profit vs non-profit, with investment targets that generated more patient and sustainable financial returns.



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