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Sustainability’s Triple Bottom Line
What are your project’s social, environmental and economic impacts?
Projects and ventures made possible through impact investments often address poverty, help clean up the environment (or prevent further damage to natural resources such as water, air or soil, habitat or ecosystems), solve issues of social and environmental justice, protect the rights and health of people, build better and healthier places to live or work, enable self-reliance, enable access to needed services, improve living conditions and quality of life.
In short, international impact investments grow regional economies, strengthen trade partners, create jobs and change lives. This is also called international development or sustainable development, with a bias toward private-sector, for-profit and entrepreneurial solutions, as they create self-reliance and scale generally not possible through government give-aways (aid) or philanthropy. Also proving successful in recent year are public-private partnerships aimed at these same developmental goals, such as building infrastructure, capacity building, levelizing the true cost of energy, clean water, financial and other services.
Of course, not every worthwhile project or venture delivers these benefits, but one of our core principles, shared by a growing number of individuals, organizations and institutions worldwide, is responsible investing. Investments for a greater purpose than just making money. Rather than focusing narrowly on financial returns “at any cost,” In3 Group and our partners give preference to projects and ventures that uphold these impact investing principles. That preference translates to more priority attention, better loan rates, lower fees, and faster processing.
Some investment banking services and funds are agnostic about the greater impacts — positive or negative — that their clients have. Not us.
At In3, we catalyze, facilitate and make impact investments in emerging markets and developing economies where the most benefits can be derived.
Impact investing, along with sustainable development’s “triple bottom line” investing, or “social investing,” is also a priority for our main lenders and equity partners. (More on impact funding)
What is a “sustainable” approach to international development?
Social ventures and impact projects often focus on underserved or emerging markets in developing economies. A sustainable approach to international development is one which takes account economic, social and environmental factors, and where results are not dependent on finite resources. Something which is sustainable will not use more natural resources than the local environment can supply; more financial resources than the local community and markets can sustain; will not produce wastes with “no place to go” (toxins that accumulate and persist); and will have the necessary support from customers, the community, government and other stakeholders to carry on indefinitely.
Trade partners or cooperative agreements, such as those with host governments, loan guarantee programs, finance facilities, etc., help ensure the project will be supported (or at least allowed) where sustainable solutions are needed most.
Article (by In3 founder Daniel Robin): read “Impact Investing for Sustainability — the emerging opportunity” online | download printable PDF version
Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI), a partnership of UNEP Finance Initiative and UN Global Compact, Progress Report for 2010
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (reference list of multilateral and bilateral development funding sources)