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

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.
The award recognizes Prof Shahnaz and IIX’s achievements in effectively creating a social capital market in Asia – connecting finance with development, unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises, and effectively impacting over ten million lives. The other winners for the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award were Elon Musk, Murad Al-Katib and Dr. Harley Seyedin.

Through IIX, I aim to connect the Wall Streets of the world with the backstreets of our communities. We have not only achieved that, but also created a new inclusive system that brings about peace by protecting this planet and the people on it through inclusive business. This is happening through the impact investing movement. I need each of you to help grow this movement and bring it to every corner of the world.” – Prof. Durreen Shahnaz, Founder of IIX @ 2017 Business for Peace Keynote Address

This award recognizes Prof Shahnaz’s achievements in effectively creating a social capital market in Asia – connecting investment to development, unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises, and thus, impacting over eight million lives. Past award recipients include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin (2014), Ratan Tata of Tata Group (2010), Mo Ibrahim of Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2009), and Paul Polman of Unilever (2015).

The Summit began with a dinner for Business for Peace Honourees and special guests at the residence of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway. It culminated into a breath-taking award ceremony held in Oslo City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies have been held since 1990.

Prof. Durreen Shahnaz with the Crown Prince, Haakon of Norway

Prof. Durreen Shahnaz with the Prime Minister of Norway

At the Award Dinner, Director of UNDP’s Nordic Office, Camilla Bruckner raised a surprise toast to Durreen S. & gifted a handicraft from the Philippines:

“Today we  honor her role in building inclusive markets and to serve as a symbol of hope, empowerment and opportunity for all.

Back in 2000, Durreen S. was in the midst of growing her first company oneNest, an e-commerce marketplace, connecting local artisans with the global market. She received a box of handmade photo frames from the Philippines with a note, which read…

“Please help us sell our products because our island Negros Occidental has been devastated by famine. We are trying to help the women here by giving them small loans so that they can make the frames and sell them to buy food.”

That note inspired her to do everything in her power to get their products to the market. Prof. Shahnaz and her company helped to successfully pull three villages and over 3,000 people out of famine.

Fast forward to 2017 and those same women who produced the photo frames will now benefit from Prof. Shahnaz’s organization, Impact Investment Exchange (or IIX). IIX is launching a $9 million Women’s Livelihood Bond which is set to empower 400,000 women in South East Asia. A portion of the proceeds of this bond will provide capital to the same organization whose products she sold nearly two decades ago. This is an incredible example of how Prof. Shahnaz has truly used business and finance to empower women to be solutions to peace and sustainability instead of victims of war and inequality.
Today, we are delighted to present Prof. Durreen Shahnaz with this handicraft from Negros Occidental to honor her role in building inclusive markets and to serve as a symbol of hope, empowerment and opportunity for all.”

Professor Durreen Shahnaz with Finn Kydland, Nobel prize winner for Economics, and one of the judges on the esteemed panel to nominate the Oslo Business for Peace Award winners

Congratulations to the Oslo Business Honourees, Solar City’s Elon Musk (award accepted by representative), Dr Harley Seyedin, IIX ‘s Durreen Shahnaz & AGT Food’s Murad Al-Katib

Throughout the Summit, distinguished guests – including the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; Wharton professor and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Adam Grant; President and CEO of Yara, Svein Tore Holsether, and Commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission – gathered to discuss how experienced and emerging leaders can work together to co-evolve a sustainable and peaceful future. The conversations emphasized the power of leveraging technology, leadership and financial capital to future-proof our economies, societies
and business models.

The Summit brought the impact investing movement to the front of the global agenda by highlighting the pivotal role it can play in achieving the goal of business for peace, and thus, marking a milestone for the impact investing world.

Join the impact investing movement and contribute to IIX’s vision: impacting 100 million lives by 2020.






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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A Year in the Field

IIX and Shujog work together to help Impact Enterprises (IEs) across Asia become investment-ready by conducting on-the-ground impact assessments and providing technical assistance to help IEs raise capital to scale. In 2016, IIX & Shujog traveled to the field to support 13 IEs across five countries. Follow us as we recap the year through a photo journal that captures some of our favourite moments from our visits to incredible IEs throughout the region!

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Why invest in impact? – In Conversation with Mark Joenje, CEO of ICCO Investments

Why should investors join the impact investment movement? IIX interviewed ICCO Investments’ CEO, Mark Joenje, for a candid look into the opportunities and challenges for investors within the space.

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IIX Impact Institute: Join the Movement!

Over the years, impact investing has grown beyond entrepreneurs and investors, attracting an increasingly diverse array of stakeholders looking to play a catalytic role in the movement.

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Moving Beyond Good Intentions – Understanding the Importance of Impact Assessments

One of the major challenges surrounding the work we do in the impact investing space is measuring the actual impact we create and making the investor feel the importance and need for the impact assessment. It is a rather daunting task to assess social change, when “impact” is a fuzzy concept to quantify.

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Making Finance do Good…

I had a simple goal in life – to make finance do good for the world. That is why I joined Morgan Stanley at 21 and saw how finance brought amazing opportunities to the society (it did some bad things as well but let’s not go into that today). I wanted to take the magic of capital markets back to my poor country Bangladesh. Thus, with a head full of idealism and heart full of optimism, I left Morgan Stanley and returned to Bangladesh. There I joined Grameen Bank and worked on Grameen Bank’s first financing round, in effect bringing Grameen Bank to the world of capital. All this was almost 25 years ago and I am still at it. I still ardently believe that the right kind of investment capital and the emergence of social capital markets can make the world a more equitable place.  Interestingly it is happening now and it is happening through what is known as ‘impact investing’.

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