FINANCE + IMPACT

A guide to understanding the intersection of finance and impact

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to our guide to social finance and impact investing. This is a dynamic and rapidly evolving space that encompasses a wide-range of social issues and sectors. The purpose of this guide is to collect and summarize the most relevant resources to introduce anyone to the space. By reading this guide you will:

 

  • gain a better idea of the meaning of social finance and impact investing
  • how they have evolved through time and how they are helping to shape the future of social innovation
  • learn what a career in this space can achieve and what it takes to get there

 

Our aim is that students and professionals alike will derive value from these insights!

DEFINITIONS & TERMS

Before diving into the guide, let’s define a few concepts that you may have or will come across as you access a variety of  resources available to you.

IMPACT INVESTING

Grouped under the umbrella of “social finance”, impact investing comprises investments intended to create positive impact beyond financial returns (coined in 2007 by the Rockefeller Foundation). While this definition leaves room for a broad set of investments, two key elements should be present: intentionality and measurement.

GLOBAL IMPACT INVESTING NETWORK (GIIN)

A network of impact investing professionals advancing the industry and offering information and resources to investors. 

ESG

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are aspects that impact investors may consider as part of their investment analysis as a way to evaluate whether their investments promote sustainable, fair and effective practices and mitigate potential risks.

MISSION-RELATED INVESTMENTS

Risk-adjusted, market-rate investments made as part of a foundation’s endowment and have a positive social impact while contributing to the foundation’s long-term financial stability and growth.

PROGRAM-RELATED INVESTMENTS (PRIs)

IRS-defined below-market rate investments made by private foundations designed to achieve specific program objectives. PRIs have a legal definition in the US (as opposed to MRIs) and count as a qualified distribution towards a foundation’s 5% annual payout requirement

understanding.

INVESTMENT SCHEDULE

The structure of the transfer of money itself can incorporate cash, private and public debt or equity, real assets, or other innovative instruments, such as pay-for-success contracts.

PAY-FOR-SUCCESS CONTRACTS

A contract that allows the public sector to commission social programs and only pay for them if the programs are successful.

Sustainable development Goals

Efforts are growing to coordinate impact investing with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 15-year global goals that all the world’s governments and many businesses and nonprofits committed themselves to beginning in 2016.
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IRIS+

A set of metrics to measure and describe social, environmental, and financial performance.
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Benefit Corporation (Bcorp)

A company with a B Corp certification prioritizes public benefit over financial performance (aligned with the investee structure).
Learn more

CASE STUDIES

In 2017, the Government of Canada created the Social Innovation & Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group. The group provided 12 recommendations to advance social innovation and mobilize social finance in Canada. In November 2018, the Fall Economic Statement from the federal government outlined a proposed $755M Social Finance Fund to invest into socially innovative projects.

 

Funded by Government of Canada, the UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (SauderS3i) identified 23 case studies of social innovation in action across Canada. These case studies represent innovative and new ways of tackling challenges faced by Canada. Ranging from projects providing new platforms to finance clean energy projects in Ontario to cafés hiring individuals with barriers to employment in British Columbia, these case studies represent how social innovation can be applied to solve the social and environmental issues as well as the role finance has played in catalyzing these solutions.

Learn more about the role of social finance reading the below

AKI ENERGY

Sustainable energy and food solutions in Indigenous communities
CLICK HERE

COPOWER & SOLARSHARE

Connecting mainstream retail investors with clean energy projects across Canada
CLICK HERE

CLIMATE SMART

Tracking carbon use and ways to reduce it
CLICK HERE

THISFISH

Seafood traceability
CLICK HERE

Connected north

Education initiatives for Indigenous students in remote areas
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CAREERS

7 SOCIAL FINANCE LEADERS ON GETTING A JOB LIKE THEIRS

Jenn Pryce, President & CEO of Calvert Impact Capital

“There’s many paths to your dream job. Focus on building skills in the functional area that interests you.”

Upkar Arora, CEO of Rally Assets

“There’s no formal path to leadership in impact investing so understand the market, do your homework, network and get outside your comfort zone.”

Adam Jagelewski, Lead Executive of Impact Investing at MaRS

“Be aware of your resources.  There is no shortage of impact needs, and a robust set of financial tools exist.”

Mallory Greene, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Wealthsimple

“Try different experiences and opportunities to determine what you really love doing.”

Cheryl Dorsey, President at Echoing Green

“Understand who you are and the impact you are meant to have on the world. Be aware of opportunities, embrace change and even failure.”

Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO of Vancity Community Investment Bank

“Take on challenging assignments and don’t try to do it alone.”

Rodney Ghali, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Impact and Innovation Unit at Privy Council Office

“Be a good listener, partner and be someone who never gives up.”

CAREER GUIDE BY NET IMPACT

This wonderful guide created by Net Impact takes aspiring professionals through different steps to enter the impact investing field:

1. Impact Investing Career Guide

Advice, Career Paths, and Interview Preparation
CLICK HERE

4. Match your skills

Skills employers are looking for in an analyst role - can you check them all off?
CLICK HERE

2. Career Paths: Finance Background

Have a finance degree or coming from a financial background?
CLICK HERE

5. Interview Prep

Impact investing interview sample questions
CLICK HERE

3. Career Paths: Non-Finance background

Don't have a finance degree? Don't worry!
CLICK HERE

6. Grad Schools for Impact Investing

Graduate Schools that offer courses in Impact Investing
CLICK HERE

ROLES

As you navigate the space, you will encounter different roles. The most common for students out of undergraduate programs will be analysts and you can work your way up to Manager and Director positions. This will be mostly true for financial services, however, if you end up working in other areas of the business (marketing, HR, tech) these will be different. The following link contains some descriptions of the roles you may encounter in the financial services space.

FINANCIAL ROLES

NON-FINANCIAL ROLES

UNIVERSITY COURSES

University of british columbia

COMM 386L - Impact Investing: Social Finance in the 21st Century
CLICK HERE

University of Toronto

RSM438H1: Investing for Impact
CLICK HERE

University of Cambridge

Sustainable Finance (Online Course)
CLICK HERE

University of Pennsylvania

Various Courses
CLICK HERE

Columbia University

B7360-001: Impact Investing
CLICK HERE

FIRMS IN CANADA

Calvert Impact Capital

A non-profit investment firm that works with investors to move capital into communities around the world
CLICK HERE

Rally Assets

An impact investing firm, offering investment management and advisory services
CLICK HERE

National Social Value Fund

A registered Canadian non-profit society that serves a network of community-focused Social Value Fund teams across Canada
CLICK HERE

Helder Ventures

Impact investing and advisory firm that supports seed and early stage social ventures located or operating in Vancouver, British Columbia
CLICK HERE

Renewal Funds

A mission venture capital fund investing in early growth stage companies to accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy
CLICK HERE

Investeco

A firm supporting high growth North American companies that promote health and sustainability in the food & agricultural sector
CLICK HERE

Cycle Capital Management

Impact investing firm fostering a sustainable future through impact investment in entrepreneurial teams
CLICK HERE

Arctern ventures

Investing in entrepreneurs obsessed with solving humanity’s greatest challenges—climate change and sustainability
CLICK HERE

Vancity Community Investment Bank

Supporting organizations and enterprises that share a commitment to positively impact the communities where they live and work
CLICK HERE

Pangaea Ventures

Investing in entrepreneurs who solve the world’s most fundamental problems with advanced materials
CLICK HERE

Echoing green

Finding the brightest leaders with the best ideas for social innovation as early as possible and then we do everything we can to make sure they succeed
CLICK HERE

Canvas Impact

Providing investment, advisory and development services for social ventures and impact investors
CLICK HERE

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

We hope you’ll continue learning about this space on your own, with friends and school. Check out these additional resources below to help guide you: