Can you earn a healthy return on your investment and help change the world at the same time?
If you haven’t been paying attention, there are already thousands of entrepreneurs and investors betting that you can, with a multibillion-dollar market to show for it.
The companies and investors in this market aim to create “impact” beyond mere profit – whether that be social or environmental impact. But unlike non-profits, revenues and profits sustain these companies.
These for-profit companies, often called “social enterprises,” are becoming more and more common. Among investors, they’re called “impact investments.”
The impact investment market is difficult to quantify since there is no common criteria to define a social enterprise, and no standardized metrics by which to measure impact.
Regardless of where the criteria and metrics eventually land, a recent study from the Calvert Foundation reports that the potential near-term market for sustainable and responsible investing is $650 billion, and that 72% of financial advisors express interest in offering these investment opportunities to clients.
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment claims that $3.07 trillion of the $25.2 trillion in professionally managed assets consider social impact a key investment criteria.
However you look at the data, we’re talking billions of dollars invested at minimum. And it’s easy to see why…
Consumers want to align their money with their values and are choosing triple-bottom-line brands that support people, the planet, and profit (think: TOMS Shoes, Method, Honest Tea, Patagonia, etc.)
Accordingly, a company with a purpose is becoming increasingly important to investors – rather than just making a quick buck at the expense of society or the environment.
That’s the promise and beauty of social enterprise: making a buck and aligning with your values are no longer mutually exclusive. They’re one in the same.