New Series Offers Impact Investors Diverse Approaches to Investing Across the Continuum

October 31, 2018

Omidyar Network curates articles from leading impact investors who take a nuanced approach to considerations of risk, return, and impact

Paris – October 31, 2018 – Earlier today, at the GIIN Investor Forum 2018, Omidyar Network launched Beyond Trade-offs, a curated series of perspectives from leading impact investors on how they balance risk, returns, and impact in their portfolios.

As the impact investing market has grown, so too has the debate about the relationship between financial return and impact. Some claim the two go hand-in-hand, while others assert that true social impact can only be achieved with concessionary investments. The Beyond Trade-offs series demonstrates how diverse impact investors – family offices, foundations, and institutional investors – balance these considerations, revealing that there is no one right way to do impact investing.

“When we first released Across the Returns Continuum, we hoped it would inspire the field to begin thinking beyond the typical trade-off debate to seek a more nuanced approach to impact investing,” said Mike Kubzansky, managing partner of Omidyar Network. “We are grateful to be joined in this conversation by luminaries in the field, who collectively demonstrate that impact investing can only reach its full potential when we better match expectations to investment opportunities.”

Authors represent different asset classes, social issues, geographies, and levels of expected financial returns. They include:

  • Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and Big Society Capital
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 
  • Blue Haven Initiative
  • Elevar Equity and The Rise Fund
  • Ford Foundation
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Lok Capital
  • Prudential Financial

These authors have shared how they have moved beyond the trade-off debate to develop sophisticated approaches that deploy capital at multiple points along the continuum. Several authors pursue purely market-rate returns, demonstrating that under certain circumstances it is possible to achieve risk-adjusted, market-rate returns with substantial social impact. Others identify types of impact that are not conducive to market-rate returns, underscoring the importance of rigor in making decisions about when and how to deploy subcommercial capital. Taken together, they demonstrate that there is no single way to do impact investing.

“By better matching investors to opportunities aligned to their expectations of risk, return, and impact, we can bring more capital to bear on the world’s most intractable problems,” noted Roopa Kudva, managing director of Omidyar Network India Advisors, who launched the series at the GIIN Investor Forum. “As the impact investing sector continues to grow, these insights will be a useful resource for new investors who are trying to determine where and how they want to invest. We are grateful to our colleagues from across the field who have shared their insights with us.”

The full series is available here:

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