Impact Investing: Moving towards systemic change

Just a few decades ago, impact investing existed mainly on the fringes. Now it’s a global market estimated at $30.3 trillion, and it isn’t unusual for investors to want to buy shares of companies that are making progress on environment, social, or governance issues.

It’s a start, but investors who want to generate lasting change need to do more than invest in single companies, said Alban Yau, a graduate research assistant in the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.

Currently, impact investing focuses primarily on supporting technologies or companies individually, which creates an isolated impact. “But the challenges we face today are complex and systemic, with interconnected social and technical factors,” Yau said.

What’s needed is systemic investing — a new approach that embraces systems transformation, deploys capital with a broader intent, and replaces a project-by-project mentality with new methodologies, structures, capabilities, and decision-making frameworks.

i(x) Net Zero plc (LON:IX) is an investing company which focusses on Energy Transition and Sustainability in the Built Environment, and was founded in 2015 by Trevor Neilson, Pär Lindström and Howard W. Buffett.

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