Blueprint has been launched for a new and independent financial institution – Impact Capital Australia (ICA) – to accelerate development and achieve scale for impact investing in Australia.

This Blueprint, released by Impact Investing Australia, puts innovation for improved social and community outcomes on the agenda in a groundbreaking proposal combining capital and mission to create impact for society, with a unique mandate to encourage and support existing and new participants into the market for impact investing. It is a key milestone for delivering a flagship action outlined in the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing’s strategy to catalyse the Australian market.

“ICA would be a game changer for Australia, mobilising more capital and transforming the way Australia deals with social and environmental challenges,” said Rosemary Addis, Chair of Impact Investing Australia.

The Blueprint is the result of a positive collaboration between senior leaders from some of Australia’s largest financial institutions, not for profit organisations and impact investing practitioners, all focused on how we can act collectively to change how we deal with issues affecting society.

Professor Peter Shergold AC, Chancellor of Western Sydney University and member of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing said: “This Blueprint has been informed by Australia’s involvement in the global effort to grow the market for impact investing, combined with the best of local experience and knowledge. The Australia’s Government response to the Financial System Inquiry last week has also put a spotlight on innovation and importance of developing impact investing. Now is the time to act.”

ICA is designed to play two key roles: investor and market champion. The focus of ICA’s impact investment activity would predominantly be wholesale, investing in vehicles being taken to market by others and supporting the growth of these intermediaries. Examples could include a fund to finance affordable accommodation for people with disabilities, a fund to invest in local communities and business to create jobs, or a social impact bond fund investing in innovations and prevention that improve social outcomes in areas such as early childhood development; type 2 diabetes; and training and employment outcomes for young people.

Peter Hunt AM, Chair of Greenhill Australia and Grameen Australia said: “It would be incredibly exciting to see a breakthrough like Impact Capital Australia in the Australian market to really accelerate our progress towards the potential of impact investing.  It is important that we invest in strategic infrastructure like this to take up the opportunities for what this kind of social and financial innovation could mean for Australia.”

As a market champion, ICA would originate impactful, innovative and scalable solutions to different social issues, along with ways of funding and financing them. It would be a proactive market builder to accelerate growth and impact by identifying opportunities and removing barriers.

“This is not about ‘business as usual’ finances.  ICA is about changing the way we address social issues in Australia. ICA will bring together the best minds in the finance sector with innovative community organisations to make a real difference to the kind of society we live in.  It is about achieving real change by challenging old school approaches and delivering real outcomes,” said David Crosbie, CEO of the Community Council for Australia.

“The groundwork has now been laid for establishing an institution that would make a significant contribution to Australia’s future productivity and prosperity. We are inviting government, major financial institutions and the community to join with us and take ICA from a Blueprint to a reality that benefits all Australians” said Addis.