Core Characteristics of Impact Investing

The Core Characteristics of Impact Investing define the baseline expectations of what it means to practice impact investing. Providing this level of clarity to the market will help investors understand what constitutes credible impact investing and the Core Characteristics serve as a reference point for investors to identify practical actions they can take to scale their practice with integrity.

As the global champion for the impact investing industry, the GIIN has been advocating for the use of investment capital to contribute to improvements in people’s lives and the health of our planet since our founding in 2009. The amount and diversity of capital for impact investing has increased dramatically in the past ten years, with the current impact investing market estimated to be USD 715 billion. Yet, more capital is needed to address the pressing challenges of our time. This is why the GIIN has made scaling the market with integrity a key focus of our ambitions for the market. 

For impact investments to contribute effectively to positive social and environmental impacts and for the approach to remain credible, the financial markets need clarity on expected practice and the terms of participation in the impact investing market. As such, the GIIN has developed the Core Characteristics of Impact Investing, refined in partnership with leading impact investors, to define what constitutes credible impact investing. These Core Characteristics will help investors understand the essential elements of impact investing, define the credibility of their practices, and consider the quality of the practices of potential investment partners.

Download the Core Characteristics of Impact Investing

Four practices define impact investing.

The set of Core Characteristics below aims to provide clear reference points and practical actions to establish the baseline expectations for impact investing. 

These Core Characteristics of Impact Investing complement the GIIN’s existing definition of impact investments, which are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

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