Lippincott Library Resources: Social Impact Investing

Image of Doomsday clock from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists showing that the clock is now at 100 seconds to midnight

I came across some startling statistics recently.

The World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap report claims that, at the current rate of progress, it will take about 108 years to reach gender parity. Here are some surprising related statistics.

Research from the FAO shows that the number of undernourished people in the world has risen since 2015.

Image from the FAO showing that the number of undernourished people in the world has risen since 2015

These problems and more have prompted many investors to consider how their investments affect people and the global environment. Investors want to do good while doing well. It seems that impact investing is having an impact and may be worth pursuing. For example, the World Bank notes that the world attained the first Millennium Development Goal target – to cut the 1990 poverty rate in half by 2015 – five years ahead of schedule.

World Bank image showing that the 1990 poverty rate was cut in half by 2015, 5 years ahead of the deadline set in the first Minllenium Development Goal

Interest in this type of investment is growing. According to the GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) Annual Impact Investor Survey, which included 266 respondents, survey participants indicated that they manage $239 billion (USD) in impact investing assets. And investment is growing.

Global Impact Investing Network 2019 Annual Impact Investor Survey showing the growth in impact investing from 2018 to 2019.

A Morgan Stanley white paper, Growth of Impact Investing (2019), claims that 8 in 10 U.S. individual investors (85%) now express interest in sustainable investing. This interest has grown, especially among Millennials.

A graph from a Morgan Stanley white paper from 2019 showing the growth of interest in sustainable investing in 2019.

Lippincott Library has a number of resources that can help track this industry, spotting trends, the companies and people leading the pack and potential investment opportunities.

Pitchbook is a great place to start. This database covers public and private companies, focusing on private equity, venture capital, investors and buyers. Do a keyword search for impact investing using the filter: Industries & Verticals. A quick overview comes up listing companies, investments over time, top players, news and more. Switch to the Research filter to find reports and analyst notes on social impact activities. Save your results in your Pitchbook account so you can update your results or analyze by various criteria.

A graph from Pitchbook showing investments over time for impact investing.

Impact Alpha. This database provides “investment data for a sustainable edge.” It includes companies, investors, deals, people and impact services. Company profiles include information on industry, funding, people, geographies, social and environmental objectives and any relevant reports or metrics. Investor profiles contain similar information.

Image for a news story from Impact Alpha showing scientists developing new tools for impact financing

CB Insights covers private companies and investors. Search by impact investing, social impact or similar keywords to retrieve companies, investors, news and research. This graph of the number of news stories on this topic over time clearly demonstrates the rise of interest in impact investing.

Graph from CB Insights showing growth of news coverage on impact investing from 2015 to 2020.

EMPEA (Emerging Market Private Equity Association). EMPEA has data and statistics on investment activity in emerging markets. To find news and reports, do a keyword search for social impact. Click on the data tab to find surveys and quarterly reports by region on investment activity. You can download the full report as well as the data in a spreadsheet. It also includes a directory of members.

EMPEA.  Two graphs showing private investment  in the Middle East.  The first graph shows imvestment trends from 2012 to Q! 2019.  The second graph shows Fundraising by Strategy from 2008 - Q! 2019.

Bloomberg, available at the Lippincott Library in our Yablon Financial Resources Lab, is a good source for ESG data on public companies. To search for a specific company, such as IBM, type IBM <EQUITY> ESG and hit the green <GO> button.

Screenshot from Bloomberg with ESG ratings for IBM

For a broader view of ESG across companies and regions, type BI BESGG to look at Bloomberg Intelligence on ESG. This also includes a Sustainable Investing Topic Primer.

Screenshot of Bloomberg Intelligence dahboard for ESG.

Preqin Pro is an option for ESG for private companies. Preqin aims to transform how private capital markets measure, benchmark and compare ESG factors. This is a new function and is still in development. At this time you can find information on fund managers’ and investors’ ESG policies and affiliations across asset classes. If ESG data is available for a company, it will be clearly marked at the top of the screen or on the left side.

Image from Preqin Pro announcing their ESG ratings data.


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