Nothing directly in the Social Impact Bond universe today as summer goes on but here are a couple of somewhat contentious articles on social impact investing instead…

It’s Time To Cut Through The Hype Of Impact Investing

In a time of skyrocketing deficits, uncertain financial markets, and staggering need, many government, business, and nonprofit leaders are eagerly looking for help from impact investments—deals that achieve a measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

But impact investment is not well understood outside of a relatively small group of early adopters, and even this band of innovators harbors multiple, sometimes-incompatible interpretations of the concept.

The result of this fragmentation is that government is struggling to build an environment that encourages impact investing while investors and foundations try to figure out what kinds of returns are reasonable to expect. In the meantime, hype is outpacing reality, and all the excitement could fizzle into very little unless we get serious about figuring out ways to move forward.

To help sort out what is real, Impact Economy—an impact-investment and strategy-advisory firm—has just issued a paper, Making Impact Investible, written by our founder, Maximilian Martin, so that foundation and nonprofit officials as well as people in government and business can help figure out next steps. A primer based on this document was released at the June Social Impact Investment Forum held by the Group of 8 leaders.

Impact Investment ‘Developing Rapidly’, Says UKSIF Report

A new report from the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) claims that the concept of impact investing has been widely embraced by the industry.

The study, titled The Future of Investment: Impact Investment, collates the perspectives of professionals from across the investment and finance sectors.

Geoff Burnand, co-founder of Investing for Good, said, “One distinct characteristic of impact investments is their intention to address social and/or environmental challenges. They can be made in both developed and emerging markets and seek either sub-market or market financial returns.

He added, “The criteria to evaluate the positive social and/or environmental outcomes of investments are an integrated component of the investment process.”

Meanwhile, James Vaccaro of ethical bank Triodos claims in the report that the main areas of growth within impact investing include renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and health and social care.

Although impact investing is on the rise, the report authors are under no illusion that the task ahead is significant. They identify certain barriers to growth, including the British tax system, but praise the government’s support of impact investing through the ‘Big Society’ concept.