What is the potential of impact investing to create impact? A new International Finance Corporation (IFC) report, “Creating Impact: The Promise of Impact Investing,” attempts to answer this question. The appetite for impact investing is gaining momentum due to the growing desire of private investors to show that profit isn’t their only objective: They can do good while doing well. This shift in strategy represents a historic opportunity for the development community to mobilize additional resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The IFC—the largest global development bank focused on the private sector in emerging markets—just completed a comprehensive assessment of the potential global market for impact investing. Although small today, the industry for impact investing could reach trillions. However, many challenges lie ahead, from achieving market returns, to properly measuring impact, to eliminating regulatory obstacles.
On April 8, the Global Development and Economy program at Brookings and IFC hosted an event to discuss these topics, as well as findings from the IFC report. Following the presentation of the report’s findings, IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou spoke about his organization’s leveraging role and the fast-changing impact investment landscape. A panel featuring investment firms and scholars of corporate responsibility followed. Global’s Interim Vice President Homi Kharas moderated the discussion. Afterwards, panelists answered questions from the audience.