As we enter the next phase of growing the market for investments that deliver positive social and environmental impact, the team at Impact Investing Australia gives some insight into their journey with impact investing and the potential they see for the field.

What’s your favourite/inspiring example of an impact investment and why?
I’m always inspired when I hear about not for profit organisations who have invested their reserves or corpus in impact, such as investing in social impact bonds or solar farms.  Too often, large community organisations do an amazing job with their core work, yet their investment policies are not aligned with their mission.  There are more and more opportunities for organisations to invest their reserves to deliver even greater positive social or environmental change, and I’d love it be on the agenda of all not for profit investment committees to explore this.    Carly Hammond
One of my favourite examples is the Bridges’ Sustainable Growth Funds. The Funds invest in ambitious growth businesses that are helping to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges in areas like healthcare, education and the environment. Bridges invest £2m-£20m in these businesses which operate in lower socio-economic areas and under-invested markets. The funds prove the impact investment model with success in both impact AND financial return. Since its first fund was launched in 2002, Bridges have built a strong track record resulting in 10 successful exits generating multiples ranging from 1.6-22x.     Sally McCutchan
A favourite example is Yume Food, a social business that connects surplus produce with businesses that can use it, that was seeded by a grant from our own Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant. I believe food security is a basic human right, and to me a venture that helps eliminate food waste, feed the hungry and reduce landfill is a winner. I was also an admirer of Katy Barfield’s work with SecondBite and I am impressed and inspired by her continued determination to come up with socially responsible solutions in this space.   Karen Palenzuela
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for growing impact investing?
So many opportunities! Probably one that speaks to my heart is the opportunity for social movements to leverage decisions throughout the investment cycle to affect positive and long lasting change.  Sabina Curatolo  
Looking at investment in impact businesses, I see great opportunities arise when we work together to consider how our actions impact the ecosystem development as a whole. We have seen an exciting increase in high-quality deals in the last year – yet we have a long way to go. We need to leverage this momentum together and strengthen each other, and be willing to learn each others’ languages. If we keep proving the point for impact business at scale, each of the organizations doing great work in this sector today will reap exponential benefits from the market development tomorrow. There are some exceptional examples of initiatives out there that don’t just talk ‘collaboration’, but walk the walk. Personally, I am excited about the key role Impact Investment Ready will continue to play in that context – to scale funding for impact businesses, develop the deal pipeline for investors, and grow the intermediary market.  Jennifer Ziegner
It probably will come as no surprise to anyone, that I say Impact Capital Australia. This is the game-changer initiative I have been working on for almost two years and the focus of an article in this newsletter. Impact Capital Australia in its two roles as both investor and market champion will be a go to place in the impact investing market.  It will enable new models and investments and facilitate the development of a stronger intermediary market.  It will drive better efficacy and efficiency of capital for both governments, foundations and philanthropy.   Sally McCutchan
How has your point of view changed with understanding how private capital can be used towards creating meaningful social and environmental impact?
Entering in to the impact investment space, I expected that a typical impact investment transaction would engage a single type of investor such as institutional investors or a philanthropist. By profiling different impact investments, I’ve learnt that one of impact investing most appealing features is the potential for layered investments, that attract different kinds of investors with varying rates of risk and return. Layered investments give different parts of society an opportunity to be part of a solution to a social or environmental challenge, and can often help get an initiative off the ground that may not have been possible with a single type of investor. Some inspiring examples including Goodstart Early Learning and the New York City Acquisition Fund.   Carly Hammond
What attracted you to working at Impact Investing Australia?
The work promised to be bold, ambitious, difficult and impactful.  It also offered the opportunity for me to work with all types of pioneers out in the market who are doing a range of things including putting deals together, investing with purpose, looking at financing their organisations differently and building businesses that will have impact.   Daniel Madhavan
I was attracted to working at Impact Investing Australia as it was a field I had not worked in before, and was keen to learn more about impact investing and how it can assist different areas of society.  Being a part of the IIA team has been a rich experience, not least working with a dynamic group of people from different backgrounds, who worked extremely hard to make a difference.     Lisa Powell
What excites you most about current developments happening in the field of impact investing?
Where the conversation is at. It has moved from being a ‘what’ conversation to a ‘how’ conversation. We are no longer talking about what this is, we are talking about how we do it.  Very cool.   Daniel Madhavan
At last year’s Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific, Wolfgang Hafenmayer encouraged people to look at the societal impacts of all investment decisions. Not just to look at the positive social or environmental outcomes being sought, but in equal measure, to unpack any potential negative social or environmental outcomes that could eventuate. This advice goes beyond the usual framing of impact investing, which focuses on and ideally, measures, the positive impacts of a program, organisation or fund on people and/or the environment.  I’m hoping that the future of impact investing, in fact responsible investment at large, moves in this direction of taking a truly holistic approach to impact.  Carly Hammond
What has working as part of the Impact Investing Australia team taught you?
Working with a diverse and resilient team has really taught me about team work and that through collaboration, real change is possible. I am personally excited for the next few years, as I expect the impact investing space to grow at an exponential rate. The initial attraction to Impact Investing Australia was learning more about how private investment could be mobilised and be used to achieve positive outcomes to society. Over the last 15 months I have learnt so much about impact investing and have seen first hand the traditional lines between business and socially driven organisations broken down, to the point where a business’s main purpose becomes delivering positive outcomes to society.  Kartik Iyer  
That is a big question for a short paragraph. But here is one that sums up a lot:
to shut up and listen*. When I joined Impact Investing Australia, impact investing was quite new to me. And I was new to Australia. If you ever want perfect conditions that require you to shut up, and listen, and learn – here they are. For the last year, I have had the opportunity to spend each day with -hands-down and no glorification – some of the smartest people I have ever met. Combine this with an incredible level of commitment and excellence in pursuing a mission that often felt like us-against-the-world, for the world. Add an above-average pinch of courage and grit. It has been a massive learning experience, but also incredibly humbling, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I will take into the future from every single member of our team. *(Still, I am not sure if my team would agree I am good at this. My mum certainly wouldn’t, don’t even bother asking her. Jennifer Ziegner
I learnt that a great leader not just leads, but galvanises everyone else around them to strive for better. Rosemary and Dan exemplify this for me. Never having worked in this space before, I’ve been spurred to continue and deepen my involvement with impact investing inspired by the potential it holds and the progress that’s left to be made for both society and the planet we live on. Gayertree Subramaniam 
It has confirmed for me that there are many ways to do good…and that many people are actively looking to do good, while many already are. Also, that obstacles are just another problem to be solved and that you don’t need permission to lead (thanks Rosemary).  Sabina Curatolo