In October 2016, Impact Investing Australia launched Benchmarking Impact: Australian Impact Investment Activity and Performance Report 2016, presenting the first set of aggregated, market-based data on the performance of Australian impact investment products.
The data-set of Australian impact investments active as at 30 June 2015, with a total product value of $1.2 billion, has revealed a diverse market that is delivering positive financial returns and impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people, through job creation, disability support, education and renewable energy generation, among other outcomes.
The Report highlights a steady increase in the number of impact investments over recent years, with the bulk of FY15 investment transactions comprising debt finance to social enterprises, while green bonds issued by major Australian banks dominated an increase in dollar value of investments in FY15.
The positive social and environmental impacts reported span across a diverse range of outcome areas, which saw 126 schools supported, 319 jobs created, 1072 people with disabilities supported, 669 mental health sessions delivered and 11501 MWh of renewable energy generated.
Providing insights for people considering making investments, seeking investment or who would like to better understand aspects of how the impact investment market is developing, the Report also makes a ground-breaking contribution to the global development of impact performance benchmarking into the future.
These findings are underpinned by extensive analysis of current measurement practice to derive nine high level outcome areas (eg. Employment, training and participation) and the 3-5 most frequently reported ‘apex’ impact metrics for each area (eg. Jobs created; People trained) for each. This will inform development of measures into the future and streamline development of impact measures that link with other global processes, such as measurement of progress toward Sustainable Development Goals.
The Report and the Benchmarking Data Project, led by Erin Castellas and supported by a Working Group of senior stakeholders from organisations including First State Super, Mercer, Perpetual, QBE, Australian Ethical, Regnan and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, was launched at Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific in Sydney.