Impact Investing Corner

World Economic Forum: Mainstreaming Impact Investing

impact investing: Investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Hear from the experts

Evolution of
An Impact Portfolio: From Implementation to Results

by Sonen Capital

October 2013

The Six Dynamics of Impact Investing

by Cathy Clark, et al.

October 2012

From Blueprint to Scale Impact Investing

by Harvey Koh, Monitor Group

April 2012

Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference

by Antony Bugg-Levine & Jed Emerson | Reviewed by David Chen

September 2011

To join the discussion on impact investing, see the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s collection of articles, book reviews, blogs, and webinars and SOCAP’s events and videos.

Stanford courses on impact investing



The past decade has seen an increasing interest in impact investments, which seek to generate financial returns at the same time as they have social (or environmental) impact. But how does an investor actually achieve impact? This course explores this question through a framework that requires that the investee enterprise itself has net positive impact and that the investor's financial or other contribution increases that impact.
Instructor: Paul Brest
Term(s): TBD, 2 Units

Field Working Definitions

The Impact Investing Spectrum by Sonen Capital illustrates four types of impact investments:

Responsible: Also known as Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”), this approach involves the negative screening of investments due to conflicts or inconsistencies with personal or organizational values, non-conformity to global environmental standards, adherence to certain codes of practice, or other such binary impact performance criteria.

Sustainable: Sustainable investments move beyond a defensive screening posture, actively looking for investments that are positioned to benefit from market conditions by integrating environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors into core investment decision-making processes.

Thematic: Thematic or mission investments have a particular focus on one or more impact themes, such as clean water or deforestation, and work to channel investment allocations in those particular directions.

Impact First: Investments that seek to optimize a desired social or environmental outcome, without regard for competitive return.

Up for debate: The impact in impact investing

Brush up on expert opinions about the possibilities and challenges impact investors face to achieve social impact along with market rate returns.

Impact Investing 2.0: The Way Forward

by Cathy Clark, et al.

November 2013

When Can Impact Investing Create Real Impact?

by Paul Brest and Kelly Born

August 2013

Accelerating Impact

by the Rockefeller Foundation

July 2012

Measure Real Impact
Global Impact Investing Network