Made for sharing

Dec 12 2022 · 5 minute read

Made for sharing

Impact investing has come a long way in recent years, but it remains a developing field. Many investment managers are still struggling with fundamental challenges - such as how to build a portfolio that delivers both competitive financial returns and meaningful impact. And how to prove authenticity in a world where impact-washing concerns are rampant.

A growing number of investors in the vanguard of the impact movement are choosing to prove their credentials through independent verification of their actions and approach. They are then happy to share that information with stakeholders – at a high level, that is.

Snowball has gone several stages further, however. Not only have they allowed us to undertake a rigorous assessment of their impact, but they have also shared our findings from that assessment in detail.

We know of no other investment manager that has taken this level of transparency and accountability – but we believe that they should – and we hope they do.

The journey began when Snowball commissioned us to provide an independent review of their impact management system and processes against industry best practices. First, we reviewed their documents and databases. Second, we talked directly to members of the team. Third, we did a deep dive into several of their investments. And finally, we spoke to fund managers at some of these firms to gauge their perspectives.

The findings from this 360° exercise formed the basis of the Optimising for Impact, Risk and Return report, showing where Snowball are strong, where there are gaps and how they can best move forward. Sharing that information does not just do a service to Snowball’s immediate stakeholders but to the impact industry more widely.

Snowball is already something of a pioneer in its field, with a vision to change behaviour in the investment industry so that all capital is invested for impact and financial returns. We would argue that their transparency is further evidence of that pioneering spirit.

Many investors are reluctant to disclose what they do and how they do it, regarding it as proprietary information. But, at a time when the investment industry is still learning how to incorporate impact objectives and scepticism is rife, transparency can provide valuable lessons to participants and, importantly, show outsiders that investors and managers really are walking the walk. That can only be a good thing, helping the entire field to prove its worth, put criticism behind it and make positive impact work.

*The Good Economy is a leading impact advisory firm. Their Impact Assured service provides an independent perspective on how investors are managing for impact while verifying their alignment with industry good practices and standards. You can learn more about the work of The Good Economy here:

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Matt Ripley, Technical Lead for Impact Services at The Good Economy
Matt Ripley, Technical Lead for Impact Services at The Good Economy