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Impact Investing Continues to Flourish Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, IFC Report Shows

Washington D.C., August 2—Impact investing continued to draw strong investor interest in 2020 amid the turbulence caused by COVID-19, with investments reaching $2.3 trillion, a new IFC report finds.

Investing for Impact: The Global Impact Investing Market 2020 provides an updated estimate of the size of the market for impact investing, defined as investments made with the intent to contribute to measurable positive social or environmental impact, alongside financial return. The report identifies $636 billion in assets with measured impact in 2020, compared with $505 billion in 2019. An additional $1.6 trillion were managed with the intent of positive impact, bringing the total market size to an estimated $2.3 trillion. The report also finds that there were more measured impact funds in the market than before—collectively, 1001 funds in 2020, compared with 887 funds in 2019. Impact investing's ongoing popularity is being driven by increased awareness of climate change and social challenges such as unequal access to healthcare, and racial and gender inequality. 

While there has been heightened interest in impact investing this past year, IFC's report also shows that the amount of measured impact assets managed by privately managed funds and institutions amounts to only 4 percent of the $7 trillion private capital industry. "There is still tremendous opportunity to bring impact investing to the next level. The pandemic shook society to its core, causing us to reconsider our values. Impact investing allows the opportunity to align assets with convictions, and we encourage more investors to become impact investors," said John Gandolfo, IFC's Acting Vice President, Economics and Private Sector Development and Treasurer. 

IFC's report also shows improving transparency levels in the market in the past year. By the end of May 2021, 97 signatories to the Operating Principles for Impact Management (the Impact Principles) had published disclosure statements. In addition, 64 independent verification summaries had been published, confirming an alignment of their impact systems with the Impact Principles. This is a testament to the market's growing discipline.

"The maturity of the impact investing market in 2020 is an encouraging signal for investors," said Afsaneh Beschloss, Founder and CEO of RockCreek—holder of the largest amount of assets privately managed in alignment with the Impact Principles. "RockCreek was a founding signatory to the Impact Principles when IFC led the launch in 2019. We are delighted to see that more and more investors are committed to integrating impact while generating returns throughout their investment lifecycles. This will continue to bring greater discipline and transparency to the market."

There are now 135 signatories to the Impact Principles, hailing from 33 different countries across five continents.

IFC's report is the most comprehensive assessment so far of the size of the global impact investing market. Findings from the report are based on publicly available information and verifiable data from selected proprietary databases. For more information, visit: www.ifc.org/invest4impact

About IFC
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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