Impact investing: bringing together financial, social and environmental purposes

Cambodia
The In-Venture team

          A new wave of private actors is nowadays disrupting the traditional Corporate Social Responsibility approach and moves toward a paradigm where social and environmental impacts are intended from the very beginning, amongst them we find impact investors. 

 

Dating back to the early 2000s, Impact investing intends to create and scale up positive impacts in ushering businesses designed to tackle pressing social and environmental issues and, therefore, stands out from mainstream investment. Impact investing funds remain for-profit organizations looking for financial returns, which distinguish them from philanthropy organizations. 

 

In 2017, 229 investors committed 35 million USD to impact investing, an amount expected to increase by 8% in 2018. The sector’s growth relies on a vast but often neglected market segment, referred as the “bottom of the pyramid”, which is tantamount to almost 3billions of people. 

 

Like Uberis, based in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and targeting the South East Asian region, Impact investing funds are mainly operating for emerging countries, where most of the world’s poor are living. Impact investing funds are therefore also disrupting the traditional aid ecosystem and offer new solutions to international development, side- by side with non-profit and public actors. Indeed, the sector pushes forward the emergence of commercial innovation for the poor in relevant markets such as agriculture, health or energy. Uberis supports for instance Solar Home in Myanmar, a social business which provides off-grid solar energy at an affordable price in rural remote areas.

With 27 million of households still living outside of electric grid across South East Asia, businesses such as Solar Home supported by Uberis to scale up  suggest a promising future to the region’s most vulnerable population.