In the five minutes it takes you to read this, another 50 people will have died with COVID-19 across the world. Well over 1,000 people will have contracted the virus. And the economic consequences will have reached many more people, creating a lasting and damaging legacy spanning health, jobs, education and more. 

There have long been strong reasons to develop impact investment, but right now there is an urgent imperative. Impact investing, which intentionally seeks positive outcomes, and measures and reports both the positive and negative consequences of investment alongside financial results, can help drive a just and sustainable recovery from the effects of COVID pandemic for all people and our planet.

The impact movement is at an inflection point. When 2020 data is released, impact investment assets under management are expected to have reached the $1 trillion milestone. More broadly, over 30% of listed assets globally have some form of ESG focus. This is an industry and an ideology that is gaining traction the world over. But it needs direction and tools to evolve and grow.

Looking into 2021, there will be two factors at the heart of our efforts: working on how impact investment can help in the COVID recovery; and building a resilient and sustainable investment system for the long term. Last year, the GSG’s Global Leaders Meeting identified a set of action areas which we are implementing to address these two imperatives. They will translate into a number of priorities for us and our movement in 2021.

  1. Advocating Impact Investment to the G7 and G20

    Throughout 2021, we will engage with the G7 and G20 to advocate for impact investment that can help the world build back better. For example, with the G20 hosted by Italy later this year, we will be working closely with the official business dialogue group, the B20, contributing as an official partner on the Finance & Infrastructure Taskforce.

  2. Stimulating the Debate and Facilitating Impact Transparency

    Following the publication of IMPACT, the GSG’s chair Ronnie Cohen has been vocal on how the private sector and businesses can change to create a fairer economic system that benefits people and the planet. The message is being increasingly heard by the media including American investment weekly Barron’s and UK-based financial daily the FT.

    The discussion about measuring and reporting on impact has taken hold across the financial and corporate sectors, but there are still too many different incompatible systems. We need a coherent approach for standards, reporting and transparency. The GSG will build momentum behind the impact movement towards a resilient and sustainable investment system for the long term.

  3. Promoting tools to drive the COVID recovery, including results-based financing

    The pursuit of a fair and fast recovery is complicated by the fiscal constraints the crisis has placed on governments around the world. They will need to invest their own resources better and attract private capital on a scale not seen before. Impact investing can bring private capital to public good, to address the crucial issues facing the post-COVID world.

    The widespread adoption of results-based financing (RBF) solutions is probably the single greatest evolutionary step to foster impact-driven economies. These programmes tie investors’ rewards to the delivery of positive benefits in society, often in the fields of education, health or work training for the unemployed.

    The GSG has brought together a panel of global experts in this field to foster that cultural shift among governments and increase understanding of results-based financing more widely. We have just launched a guide which shines a light on this highly promising area of funding. You can download the report and read our blog for World Economic Forum on the topic.

  4. Highlighting the Link Between Environmental and Social Agendas

    Our work has historically focused on how impact investing can help on social issues, such as education, health and access to housing, engaging with partnerships to connect on climate issues. Increasingly, the green and social agendas are inextricably linked.

    Climate change is now already with us, often hitting hardest the poor and vulnerable. There are many examples of climate mitigation measures being resisted when they don’t incorporate social justice, as seen in the Gilets Jaunes movement in France. But there are also many opportunities to create environmental and social benefits at the same time.

    It’s time to make a much more direct connection between social and green imperatives. The GSG will be working this year on bringing these two areas together through our advocacy work both nationally and supranationally. A good example of this is the Green Plus Gilt financing innovation from the Impact Investing Institute, the UK’s National Advisory Board and a member of the GSG.

  5. Expanding our Network

    Alongside these new issues, our groundwork will continue. There are 20 more countries building their impact investment taskforces, and we will support their development towards joining our existing group of National Advisory Boards representing 33 countries spread across six continents. And as more initiatives blossom, our knowledge management and policy work become ever more important.

    At heart, the GSG is both a convenor and a development agency. We bring people and organisations together in common cause towards a better financial system that can help solve problems on the ground. And we experiment with new ideas and build the capacity of the impact movement, nationally and globally.

The GSG is a charity, reliant on the generosity of donors. We also rely on the time and effort given by supporters around the world, including our NABs. We are honoured to have so many people and organisations with us in common endeavour. Working together, our focus in 2021 will be to help in the recovery, and build a transparent, resilient and sustainable investment system for the future.

Cliff Prior
CEO, GSG

‘Tying funding to results’ is an action guide from the GSG and the Education Outcomes Fund designed to equip NABs better and amplify their efforts to achieve more and better outcomes to pressing social and environmental issues through results-based financing. This publication is the first phase of a wider workstream focused on implementing results-based finance solutions globally, especially in GSG NAB countries. You can download the report and read our blog for the World Economic Forum on the topic.

Please contact julieta@gsgii.org for more information.

The Education Outcomes Fund and the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment will shortly together publish a guide for the GSG’s National Advisory Boards that highlights the opportunity in results-based finance for education, health and employment. Our aim is to shine a light on this emerging area of finance which we think will be critical to foster economies driven by impact.

Click here to read more

LONDON – The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) is pleased to announce that it has been appointed partner of B20 Italy, the G20’s official channel for dialogue with the global business community, helping elevate Impact up the global agenda as companies, investors and policymakers come together to discuss initiatives to fuel a fair and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

The opening B20 summit takes place on January 21-22 virtually and is led by the Italian business confederation Confindustria. Speakers include the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance Robert Gualtieri, as well as BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg. Watch the live stream of the event starting today at 13:00 CET here.

The meeting coincides with the handover of the G20 presidency to Italy from Saudi Arabia and is the first in a number of events that will enable business leaders to discuss hot topics and make recommendations to G20 political leaders when they meet later in 2021 in Rome. The GSG joins the B20 as a partner on the Finance & Infrastructure Taskforce to help the group drive forward its objectives of expanding sustainable infrastructure financing and boosting urban regeneration. The B20 will organise further sessions throughout 2021, culminating in a final Summit on October 7-8.

“The B20 summit comes at a decisive moment as countries seek to put in place measures to rebuild their economies after the COVID-19 crisis. Impact initiatives can play a central role in that process,” says Giovanna Melandri, president of Social Impact Agenda for Italy, the GSG’s National Advisory Board for Italy. “We believe the time is right for governments and investors to join forces on projects with economic and social goals, using new tools such as results-based payments, to drive an impact-led recovery.”

“I am delighted the GSG is taking part in the B20 business forum in Italy and will be able to contribute to the group’s agenda this year,” the GSG’s CEO Cliff Prior added. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on deep-seated structural inequalities in the global economy. Working with the B20, we are determined to do everything we can to achieve a just and sustainable recovery for all people and our planet.”

END

Notes to editors

Contact for media enquiries

For more information, contact Lynn Nicholson, Head of Communications, GSG: lynn.nicholson@gsgii.org, +32 494 813 837

About GSG

The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG – www.gsgii.org) is an independent global steering group promoting sustainable development and advancing education in impact investment. The GSG was established in 2015 as the successor to, and incorporating the work of, the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8.

The GSG’s National and Regional Advisory Boards (NABs & RABs) currently cover 33 countries. It has established strategic partnerships with leading global organisations such as UNDP and the Impact Management Project. It is an organisation of over 500 senior people, chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen, which brings together leaders from the worlds of finance, business, government, social organisations, and philanthropy.

The GSG, a British charity, aims to bring solutions to social and environmental challenges by spreading the use of impact approaches in making philanthropic, business and investment decisions.

Click here to view in PDF

Our action-oriented Summit targeted the global impact community’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. Taking the The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment’s (GSG) eight ‘Actions for Recovery’ as our structure, our keynote, breakout, plenary, and workshop sessions called on all participants to collaborate for a just and impact-led recovery.

Click here to download the report.

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