On 15 September, Sir Ronald Cohen, the "father of social impact investment", joined UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne, to launch a landmark report titled Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets.
The report offers recommendations for advancing social impact investment around the world and unlocking up to $1 trillion in new investment for innovative and effective approaches to social problems.
The report was produced by the Taskforce on Social Impact Investment, which was established by UK Prime Minister David Cameron during the UK’s presidency of the G8 and chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen, who also served as the founding chair of Big Society Capital, the world first social investment bank.
It was informed by the work of 22 Taskforce members, eight National Advisory Boards, and four international expert working groups – totalling over 200 people in all.
“We’ve got a great idea here that can transform our societies, by using the power of finance to tackle the most difficult social problems.”
“Social impact investments are those that intentionally target specific social objectives along with a financial return and measure the achievement of both,” the report explains. They raise funding for social enterprises and impact driven businesses to address chronic social problem such as homelessness, recidivism and unemployment. They generate both a social impact and a financial return for investors, potentially unlocking vast amounts of private capital for social good.
According to the report, they can drive “a revolution in how we solve society’s toughest problems.” Or as David Cameron noted in an address to the G8, “We’ve got a great idea here that can transform our societies, by using the power of finance to tackle the most difficult social problems. Problems that have frustrated government after government, country after country, generation after generation.”
The report lays out a number of “relatively simple, inexpensive and practical steps” that could “quickly to unleash up to $1 trillion of new investment to tackle social problems more innovatively and effectively.”
These include ambitious market goals as well as recommendations for government procurement, financial products and regulatory innovations that can create an ecosystem in which social impact investment can thrive.
The Taskforce report is complemented by additional reports from eight National Advisory Boards (NAB), representing the G7 countries and Australia. These individual reports include recommendations from each NAB for growing the impact investment market in their specific country context.
Visit Social Impact Investment Taskforce to download the full Taskforce report.
You can learn about the beneficial role of social impact investment in this video featuring Sir Ronald Cohen.