All investments have a social impact, right? So what defines impact investing?
Writes Lisa Hall, "Impact investors, in keeping with the principles of sustainable and responsible investing, seek to do no harm and to affirmatively make investments that benefit society, creating measurable and positive social outcomes.
As impact investing becomes more mainstream, the opportunity for community development will keep growing. Part of the potential of impact investing is that it is complex, however.
"Impact investing can encompass all asset classes: cash, fixed-income, private equity, and, yes, real assets, such as investments in affordable housing. In fact, affordable housing is a classic example of impact investing: the underlying revenue model generates a social benefit and can support the repayment of debt through rental payments and predictable subsidy streams," writes Hall. "There is also a range of returns within impact investing. Different investors have different return expectations and risk appetites. Many in the sector refer to impact investments as being either financial-first or impact-first, while others are emphatic that investors should seek a blended value of returns."