Impact investing aims to generate both a positive social and/or environmental impact and a financial return. Yet as this inchoate and still-evolving field slowly gains traction, there's a philosophical debate about whether pursuing one of those goals might come at the expense of the other.
It's an issue raised in a survey released late last year by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and J.P. Morgan that captured the views of 52 organizations and fund managers engaged in impact investing, including members of GIIN's Investors' Council comprising some of the heavyweights in impact investing circles. Among other things, it asked respondents their views on returns, risk and impact measurement practices, and their general take on this market.
One of the questions posed to survey participants whether they felt a trade-off between financial returns and the project's intended impact is necessary when making impact investments. Sixty percent said no; 40% said yes.