Embracing the Spectrum: Investors of catalytic capital seek outperformance – on impact

In Impact Alpha, Maoz (Michael) Brown, with The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School, talks about the results of recent research into the perspectives of impact-first investors.

“Profit and purpose, mission and money, values and value creation – the synergy of financial return and social benefit is the animating principle of impact investing,” he writes.

“This happy interplay has been essential to field-building, but it has always been unclear how we apply the “doing well by doing good” mantra to those impact investors targeting subcommercial returns for the sake of social mission. If we can make the world a better place and get rich at the same time, why should such investors exist?

“Rather than get stuck on this question, the field has seemed largely content with centering market-rate-seeking financial vehicles to grow the movement of impact investing and to differentiate impact investors from philanthropic analogs. 

“Lately there have been stirrings of a shift in norms…”

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