Impact Quarterly

Impact Quarterly is a digital publication subscribed to by 25,000 readers. Each quarter, we explore the latest trends and topics in the intersection of finance and international development, through impact investing, impact-driven entrepreneurship, and businesses reaping both financial and social returns.

Write for greater impact

Brimming with innovative social impact ideas? Want to share them with the world? If you’ve got the flair and passion for writing and want to be part of the conversation on impact investing, we want to hear from you! Send us your writing samples and application with the title “I want to write for greater impact” to info@iixfoundation.org

Gender-Lens Investing: Putting Women at the Forefront of the Sustainable Development

Despite traction in gendered approaches to investment, women still represent an underutilized force for sustainable development and remain underserved in terms of access to capital, market linkages, and resources needed to improve their economic position. Closing the gender gap is not only a social imperative but also a key ingredient in fueling economic growth.

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Freyr Energy: Providing Solar Power to Villages in India

After four hours of bumpy drive into the hilly areas near Visakhapatnam, India, we reached our destination – an isolated village which was inaccessible by road until two years ago, and remains disconnected to grid power. Yet, utility poles with LED street lights, together with a solar system, are prominently placed across the village of 12 families. We were warmly invited by the village chief to visit his house. Surrounded by a group of villagers, he switched on the television and started describing the changes this solar energy system brought to the village.

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IIX Impact Chats Return with a Discussion of ‘Business for Inclusion’

Inclusion is a topic central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to achieve the ambitious targets, it is essential for all people to become agents of change and contribute towards building a larger included society. Businesses, in particular, are crucial in creating innovative market-driven approaches that catalyze progress towards a future where no one is left behind.

IIX and the impact investing movement believes in creating a more inclusive world where financial systems, economic opportunities, and social good act as catalysts across geographies. To foster progress on this front and continue to be a thought leader, IIX has brought back its community-wide Impact Chat Series and congratulates its second cohort of international students from the IIX Impact Institute who recently completed their Executive Certificate Program.

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Women’s Livelihood Bond: Unlocking Private Sector Capital for Social Good

IIX is excited to announce the closing of the $8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB) that will impact the lives of over 385,000 women across Southeast Asia. This innovative bond is the world’s first impact investing instrument with a dual focus on social and financial returns to be listed on a stock exchange. 

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A Question of Scale for Off-grid Energy Access

The Northern state of Uttar Pradesh was described as dazzling cities surrounded by an inky black sea, in an Economist article titled “Out of the Gloom” in 2013. The vast gap of access to energy in India is symptomatic of the gap between these islands of prosperity amongst seas of paucity (Dreze and Sen, 2013), where conservative estimates suggest that 300 million people do not have access to reliable energy. The Government, at both the Central and State level, is trying to bridge this gap. During the presentation of the annual budget for 2017, the Indian Government has promised complete electrification by 1st May 2018, allocating over 48 billion rupees, or approximately US$ 750 million, towards electrifying rural villages in India.

In contrast to Government-led intervention, in the densely populated states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, a number of ‘Impact Enterprises’ have used market-based solutions to bridge the gap for the ‘Base of the Pyramid’ (BoP) through renewable energy. They range from those that provide lighting products, including Solar Home Systems, to small-scale Direct Current (DC) pico-grids to larger Alternating Current (AC) mini-grids. Each solution is relevant to a different aspect of the energy access ladder.

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Are you #Businessworthy?

The annual Business for Peace Summit brings together leaders from around the globe across business, society and politics, to advance their vision: business leaders must be “businessworthy,” i.e. they must work in an ethical and responsible way to create value for both business and society.  This May, IIX’s founder, Prof Durreen Shahnaz, was invited to receive the prestigious 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award.

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Entrepreneur. Muslim. Woman. Impact: Open Letter to President Donald Trump

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations on your recent victory.

Like many others, I remain hopeful that, despite your administration’s numerous missteps during your first month in office and despite several indications to the contrary, you do aspire to have a positive impact on the world in which we live. I am writing to you today with a request that you use your business acumen to support sustainable development in communities across the globe in need by promoting investment in enterprises that aim to create positive impacts on society and the environment.

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Can Big Corporations Save Us from Climate Change?

Hope is a rare commodity in these times. Despite the growing awareness of the global socio-economic-environmental challenges, the poor economic climate is causing philanthropy budgets to come under pressure—for individuals, governments, and not least, corporations. With respect to the last, it portends the end of CSR as we know it – which could, paradoxically, be a good trend. As traditional CSR that are token acts of corporate goodwill become financially burdensome, the need arises for “a system that draws in innovators and businesses… [with] a twin mission [of] making profits and also improving lives for those who don’t fully benefit from market forces”, as Bill Gates expressed cogently in his 2008 Davos speech.

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Farming Data: Cultivating Insights for Agriculture in Asia

Arthur Conan Doyle once quipped, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data”. We at IIX and IIX Foundation, formerly known Shujog, avoid this pitfall by harnessing and analyzing our data with the aim of informing investment decision-making and adding rigor and transparency to the impact investment space. As a pioneer in impact investing in Asia, we have access to a wealth of data collected through 8 years of impact assessments, capital raising and research activities. This includes a wide range of metrics related to the impact, return and risk of impact investments.

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The Power of Ideas: How Impact Entrepreneurs are Shaping India’s Climate Resilience Agenda?

India is taking decisive strides in shaping the global agenda on climate resilience. Climate resilience refers to the adoption of policies, governance and management structures at the national and community level to cope with the stresses imposed by climate change. To this end, the Indian government has prioritized ecological investments in its budgetary allocations through initiatives such as the Green Energy Corridor project, cleaning up the Ganges river, and investing in solar power projects.

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