Home Institution

Emory University

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


“Impact Investing” is an emerging concept that focuses on developing a common ground between capital investment and philanthropy. This relatively new theory of social entrepreneurialism focuses on creating positive social impacts while also maintaining an economic commitment to investor returns. This innovative concept has been notably championed by Credit Suisse as well as other financially based institutions and NGO’s. The purpose of this paper is to explore and address the defining factors within the developing and growing field of Impact Investment. The increased effort by business towards moving beyond standard methods of Corporate Responsibility has resulted in the catalyzed formation of new methods to achieving sustainable business on an international level. This paper will take a look the historical factors that have lead to the standardization of the sustainable development movement that is central to the notion of Impact Investment. From this platform, this paper will attempt to identify the foundation for the Impact Investment field as a concept derived from the fusion of venture capital Core Business models and social impact Philanthropic models. This paper will look to understand various sustainable business models to achieving Impact Investment. Furthermore, collaboration between the public sector and private sector has become viewed as necessary for social, environmental, and economic impact. This paper will take a look at the abilities and skills the public and private sectors can provide to a collaborative effort towards social enterprise in the developing world. Next, this paper will look to identify the major themes within Impact Metrics and the effectiveness of attempting to measure the arbitrary concepts of social and environmental impact. This paper will then discuss the prevalent and complicating challenges Impact Investor actors must realize, address, and overcome to attain impact. Finally, this paper will look towards the future of Impact Investment and the direction it must take to maximize the effectiveness of all defining factors. Impact Investment is an exciting and inspiring business concept that is working to prove that the difference between profit maximization efforts and philanthropy is not as great as once was thought.


Growth and Development | Politics and Social Change | Work, Economy and Organizations


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