Breakfast takeaways on impact investing


There was good attendance and discussion at the Impact Investing Network (IIN) breakfast event on 1 June 2021. It was an insightful start to the day before the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) conference.


This is a summary of key takeaways from the breakfast event.


Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG)


David Woods, outlined global impact investing trends through engagement with other global National Advisory Boards (NAB) and the GSG, including:

  • The role of all NABs are to “innovate, agitate and orchestrate” the impact investing sector in their countries.

  • Results-Based Finance, where government spending can have a greater focus on education, health and employment outcomes by adopting results-based financing tools.

  • Importance of impact integrity and transparency through measurement and standards initiatives e.g. results-based finance, impact-weighted accounts initiative, UNDP SDG Impact Standards.

  • An increasing amount of regulation is coming around impact and sustainable investing in many facets, especially from the European Union.


NAB and IIN Strategy


Tan Huynh summarised the strategy of the NAB and the IIN, which is to connect, educate and advocate to grow the impact investing sector in Aotearoa New Zealand:

  • Facilitate connections between NZ and the global ecosystem.

  • Provide access to news and education resources.

  • Influence NZ economy, policy and regulations.


Areas developing in impact investing - discussion questions


The NAB, which governs the strategy and activities of the IIN, facilitated a discussion on the areas developing in impact investing.

Included below are some comments from the NAB and participants based on the following questions.

  1. What is the difference between impact investing and sustainable finance?

  • “Impact investment is a catalyst for what can be done differently”.

  • “There’s a greater understanding of impact investing compared to previous years”.

  • “Features of impact investing such as intentionality and impact measurement are important differentiators, compared to screening in ESG for example”.

  • “Difference matters to the consumer to maintain integrity, we need to defend impact investing term and rally behind it”.

2.

  1. What makes impact investing unique in the Aotearoa New Zealand context?

  2. How do we view issues such as impact measurement and monetisation?

  • “Te Ao Māori perspective provides us with a wealth of knowledge, beyond impact for example spiritual realm and intergenerational thinking”.

  • “What are principles, what does it look like and how do you go about it? Taxonomy should follow principles not the other way around”.

  • “Can alter relationships if [impact] is monetised”.

  • “There is an avalanche of measurement tools coming”.

  • “We can't monetise nature”.

  • “We need to sit in the seat of environment, not the other way around. There is a risk of impact becoming a money making machine”.

  • “Organisations that deliver impact, the avalanche of measurement overwhelms them”.

  • “ We need diversity around decisions, for example fund managers”.

  • “There is a perception issue of concession between financial returns and social and environment for example with funds”.


Next steps

The NAB will lead a process to produce one or more position papers, which could include definition of impact investment, impact measurement and reporting principles and impact monetisation.

Please contact Tan Huynh, to express interest in providing feedback into this project and/or future IIN activities, to progress the impact investing body of knowledge in New Zealand.


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