SAN FRANCISCO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A global consortium of leading social finance experts was formally announced on Wednesday as part of a commitment made by the Group of Eight Social Impact Investment Forum earlier this year.
The G8 Social Impact Investment Forum last June announced the establishment of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce to help foster a social investment market, defined as buying into companies that aim to achieve a measurable social or environmental impact as well as a financial return.
The taskforce aims to report on a policy framework within about 12 months that would allow a standardised approach for impact investments to measure social outcomes and methods for foundations, institutions, and private investors to invest.
Matt Bannick of Omidyar Network and Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Office of Social Innovation at the White House, announced the members of the consortium at SOCAP, an annual conference that gathers investors, foundations, institutions and social entrepreneurs with the goal of increasing the flow of capital to social good.
“The G8 looked at the relevant role of government, social, and private sectors through the lens of impact investing,” Bannick, who will also serve on the consortium, told conference delegates.
“The task force is soliciting different points of view, developing innovative ideas, developing relationships, and making policy recommendations to get stuff done. The roles all of us can play will be fleshed out over time.”
Greenblatt said the Obama administration was keen to leverage input from the taskforce.
IMPACT INVESTING PART OF US ECONOMIC STRATEGY
“The president deeply believes impact investing is part of our economic strategy and is looking at how we can encourage this across the world,” he said.
“But economic recovery is not something we’re only seeing from Washington. It is being driven from Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs, investors and executives are figuring out how to standardise social metrics and to measure impact as a complement to policy,” he said.
Ronald Cohen, founder of Social Finance, the organisation that developed social impact bonds, will be leading the taskforce. Cohen is known for his work in private equity and venture capital, having established one of Britain’s first venture capital firms. Cohen currently also chairs Big Society Capital, the UK’s social investment bank.
According to a recent report by investment bank JP Morgan, impact investors plan to commit $9 billion in 2013, up from $8 billion the previous year and with a predicted market opportunity of between $200 and $650 billion in the next decade.
The members of the new consortium are:
Lieve Fransen, European Commission (EU); Hugues Sibille, Crédit Coopératif (France); Claude Leroy-Themeze, Ministry of Economy and Finance (France); Nadia Voisin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (France); Brigitte Mohn, Bertelsmann Foundation (Germany); Susanne Dorasil, Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany); Giovanna Melandri, Uman Foundation (Italy); Mario Calderini, University of Turin Politecnico (Italy); Mario La Torre, La Sapienza University – Rome (Italy); Sir Ronald Cohen, Big Society Capital and The Portland Trust (UK); Kieron Boyle, Cabinet Office (UK); Matt Bannick, Omidyar Network (USA); Don Graves, The White House and US Department of Treasury (USA)
The taskforce will also have representatives from Canada and observer representatives from the Australian government.