Where are we in the transition from risk + return investing to risk + return + impact investing?

By Euan Finlay

We are at dangerous cross-roads today with ESG and impact investing. The momentum from all corners — institutional asset owners, asset managers, and financial reporting regulators — has built to levels not anticipated, having been further boosted by the pandemic. This acute focus on the environment and social impact is a history-making socio-economic phenomenon. But its all-encompassing definition may be its biggest obstacle. ESG investing captures a vast array of impacts which impedes its own progress as we see inconsistent measurement systems and competing reporting proposals that will never reach a standard until they disperse into discrete impacts, such as carbon emissions and workforce diversity and inclusion. As we said five years ago in our annual investor meeting, the virtuous circle of responsible investing needs a standard measurement solution, so where are we in the transition to risk + return + impact investing?

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