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.
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.
IIX is excited to announce the closing of the $8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB)™ that will impact the lives of over 385,000 women across Southeast Asia. This innovative bond is the world’s first impact investing instrument with a dual focus on social and financial returns to be listed on a stock exchange.
The Northern state of Uttar Pradesh was described as dazzling cities surrounded by an inky black sea, in an Economist article titled “Out of the Gloom” in 2013. The vast gap of access to energy in India is symptomatic of the gap between these islands of prosperity amongst seas of paucity (Dreze and Sen, 2013), where conservative estimates suggest that 300 million people do not have access to reliable energy. The Government, at both the Central and State level, is trying to bridge this gap. During the presentation of the annual budget for 2017, the Indian Government has promised complete electrification by 1st May 2018, allocating over 48 billion rupees, or approximately US$ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!