Australian impact investments quadrupled to $5.8 billion in the two and a half years to 31 December 2017, according to a new benchmarking report.
The amount invested in 51 Australian impact investment products increased from $1.2 billion at 30 June 2015 to $5.8 billion at the end of calendar 2017, according to a new report launched by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
The report, launched in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University, is titled Benchmarking Impact: Australian Impact Investment Activity and Performance Report 2018.
The products analysed included social impact bonds, green bonds, private equity, property and infrastructure.
Funds raised through green bonds included renewable energy assets, energy efficiency assets and low carbon public transport — with 2,110,000 tons of carbon dioxide being reported as avoided or abated through impact investment.
RIAA chief executive Simon O’Connor said the report revealed a diverse market that was delivering positive financial returns for investors while also benefiting the environment and “impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people through employment pathways, education, and health services among other activities”.
“With nearly $6 billion of capital now being put to work to deliver a better society and environment through impact investing, we are now getting an insight into the potential of capital markets as a force to be harnessed for achieving a more prosperous and sustainable Australia,” Mr O'Connor said.
Specifically, the 51 products analysed by the report had the following social and environmental impacts: 700 vulnerable families assisted; 369 employment pathways or jobs created; 22,688 students supported; 1069 clients receiving health and well-being services and 950 megalitres of water delivered to wetlands, creeks and ecosystems.
“The report shows that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are gaining significant traction as a framework for measuring impact, highlighting the important role finance can play in helping contribute towards achieving these important global goals,” said the RIAA.