Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues have long been considered the No. 1 concern when it comes to potential investment opportunities, but a new report from the Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN) looks at a different angle: impact investment, which aims to make long-term investments in social, economic, and political causes that have a positive impact on the world's economy and society.
The report finds that the market for impact investment reached a record high of $1,164 billion in 2021, up from $9.5 billion in 2011, and it's expected to hit $1 trillion by the year's end.
"There is a huge opportunity for companies to not only meet their social and environmental targets, but to also generate long-term capital gains," GIIN's chief executive says in a press release.
There are two main types of impact investment: long-term investments that last for at least 10 years and short-term investments that last for less than five, according to GIIN.
Companies can invest in a wide range of industries, from oil and gas to mining and telecoms, and the market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of more than 6% over the next few years, according to GIIN.
But there's a potential problem...
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The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the first of three volumes of its fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The findings of the report show that mainstream businesses have become greener, with an emphasis on reducing carbon emissions which are the key sectors for impact investment.