Onward, Ms Meyer!

Jed Emerson

What a pleasure it was to read Bonny Meyer’s personal account of her journey to mobilize all her assets for impact in the June issue of Alliance!

We should each recognize her vision is increasingly the rule and not the exception for many asset owners exploring how to optimize the total blended value potential of their portfolio. While in the past some ‘responsible’ investors thought in terms of one or the other strategy (SRI or sustainable investing or impact investing or whatever!), today a growing cohort of investors are realizing that, in the words of Bonny Landers of The Sterling Group (Hong Kong), ‘I am responsible for managing the whole portfolio for maximum impact!’

These investors do this, first and foremost, by rejecting the limits presented them by their traditional wealth managers and investment advisers – and yes, sometimes this means rejecting the advice of those who would have us believe there is only one route up the mountain of impact investing! As Antony Bugg-Levine and I discuss in our upcoming book, Impact Investing: Transforming how we make money while making a difference, whether executed by an individual as integrated wealth management or by an institution as a total foundation asset management strategy, it is increasingly possible to execute investment strategies that view impact not as a percentage to be allocated but as an approach to inform all capital investments – whether into a specific impact asset class or across a host of asset classes.

Whatever label we give these unified investment approaches, they hold significant promise for affirming sustainable corporate practices in publicly traded companies or helping build long-term value at the firm level of privately held companies. In addition, an array of impact investing vehicles will channel capital to the ‘missing middle’ of Bottom of the Pyramid ventures being built to create mutual value (as described by London and Hart in Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid) or into a variety of alternative social enterprises as detailed by Ms Meyer.

In the end, what is clear is that the ‘smart money’ will be positioned to seek out and capitalize a wide array of investment opportunities and it is in doing so that we will all ultimately capture the full potential of impact investing … Onward, Ms Meyer, ONWARD!!

Jed Emerson
Grand Lake, Colorado

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Funders for justice all?

Albert Ruesga