How Your Investment can Build a Sustainable Business Ecosystem

With a new norm ahead of us–one defined by global interdependence against the backdrop of climate emergencies and the COVID-19 pandemic–it’s more important than ever that conscious investors play a role in the path forward. The failure of the COP26 summit where world leaders could not put aside their own interests to act for the good of the world showed that it’s up to each individual to take action to build a resilient future for everyone.

Impact investing can progress the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations adopted Agenda 2030 in 2015 as an ambitious universal agenda to address the world’s most pressing problems. The UN describes the Global Goals as the “World’s To-Do List” to ensure that humankind progresses together toward an equitable and sustainable future where no vulnerable groups are left behind.

“A core feature of the SDGs is their strong focus on means of implementation—the mobilization of financial resources—capacity-building and technology, as well as data and institutions.”

[United Nations Global Goals]

With the right impact investment, you commit your dollar to creating a positive impact while providing returns on your investment. The rising environmental and social consciousness of investors is growing evidence for the resilience dividend in the markets. Not only are consumers demanding accountability for business practices in what they buy, but for several years, climate change has also been topping the charts of what the next generation of consumers is concerned about.

Investors have not lagged behind with a growing demand for environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) taking precedence in 2021. Reuters reported a record $649 billion invested into ESG-focused funds worldwide in 2021.

Climate disasters and the onset of the pandemic are responsible for what some people call the sustainability disruption—where embracing risk and innovating solutions demand inclusivity versus considering financial benefits alone.

But what does this mean for your next investment?

Good risk management is good impact management

If investors, businesses, donors, and ecosystem actors want to drive transformational change, they need to re-assess how they view and manage risk through a framework that goes beyond the traditional binary risk-return approach. The new norm will require us, enterprises and investors, to make financial, operational, and commercial decisions through a more holistic Risk-Return-Impact approach.

IIX has been working with a proprietary Risk-Return-Impact (RRI) framework for over a decade, and it has played a key part in our innovations unlocking over US $233M in private sector capital by showing investors how investing in enterprises with a focus on impact reduces the risk profile of their portfolio and creates real verified impact.

Our approach leverages on the ground data and analytics to provide businesses and investors with comparative, standardized information so that they can create risk mitigation strategies, make capital allocation decisions, and more effectively and transparently drive capital towards where it is needed the most. We’ve now digitized this framework so it is accessible online through IIX Values for anyone to use, and so that it can be deployed quickly and effectively.

What’s Next?

If you’re an investor committed to making a difference and progressing the SDGs, there are ways to put your dollar to work. Access the next generation of impact enterprises that are vetted, investor-ready, and on track to deliver verified impact objectives targetted to move the needle on the Global Goals.

Click here to learn more and join us at our next investor showcase for an exclusive peek at our live deals.

Impact Partners 3.0 is an innovative, FinTech crowdfunding platform by IIX Impact Partners integrating digital impact assessment with data analysis for the first time. Having unlocked US$ 233M in capital for impact since 2008, Impact Partners 3.0 is democratizing capital flows by providing data-driven matchmaking to deliver investment solutions for enterprises and investors alike.

New impact initiative to uplift underserved women SMEs in Apac – CityWire Asia

Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange and the Australian government have launched three innovative financing solutions for women SMEs in the Asia Pacific.

On top of the initial funding of AUD 2.75m ($2.05m) from the Australian government, IIX hopes to raise AUD 18m ($24.18m) in private sector capital in two years. READ MORE

Bangladeshi-American Durreen Shahnaz now on Forbes 50 Over 50 list – Dhaka Tribune

Amid the continuing recognition for her priceless role as a financial changemaker, Durreen Shahnaz, a Bangladeshi-American investment banker-turned-entrepreneur, professor, and speaker, has now made it to the list of Forbes 50 Over 50.

The prestigious journal published what it termed the 50 Over 50: Investment list on Tuesday, highlighting the female investors and financial leaders who are leading high-growth businesses in the male-dominated spaces of Wall Street, venture capital, and impact investing. READ MORE

The Rainmakers: Meet The Women Over 50 Creating New Ways To Make And Move Money – Forbes

Born in Bangladesh and educated in the U.S., Shahnaz started her career on Wall Street in the late ’80s and saw firsthand how the financial markets can change lives—and how the vast wealth the markets were creating were not reaching the world’s women. She went on to work for microfinancier Grameen and, in 2009, founded Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), a private placement platform to invest in “last-mile” female entrepreneurs around the globe. While IIX has invested $215 million across 53 countries and helped, by her estimate, millions of female small business owners, Shahnaz is most proud of a financial instrument she created on the cusp of turning 50: a women-focused bond series. READ MORE

IIX and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Launch Blended Finance Solutions to Benefit 2.5 Million Lives in Asia Pacific by 2023

SINGAPORE AND CANBERRA [September 15, 2021] – Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) announced today the launch of three blended finance solutions to boost resilience and drive investment to small and medium-sized businesses and underserved women in the Asia-Pacific. With AUD2.75 million in funding from the Australian Government, IIX will unlock an additional AUD18 million through the catalytic use of the funding.

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Impact Investing Exchange (IIX) is a pioneer in impact investing, founded by Professor Durreen Shahnaz. In 2017, it launched its first Women’s Livelihood Bond, focusing on financial inclusion enterprises in Southeast Asia. Since then, the series has expanded to include new sectors in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India. READ MORE

World’s First Listed Gender Lens Impact Investing Security, IIX Women’s Livelihood Bond 1, Matures

July 6, 2021 – SINGAPORE – Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)’s Women’s Livelihood BondTM 1 (WLB1), the world’s first gender lens and impact investing instrument to be listed on a stock exchange (the Singapore Exchange), matured on July 6, 2021. With all coupon payments and principal payments made on time, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bond provided investors with an annual return of 5.65% from 2017-2021. The WLB1 is the first issuance of the US$150M Women’s Livelihood Bond Series, a series of innovative debt securities that creates sustainable livelihoods for over 3 million underserved women across the Asia-Pacific and other emerging markets. In addition to its strong financial performance, all social performance targets, including targets for increased financial inclusion and financial resilience, were met or exceeded, demonstrating the sustainability of the bond’s underlying portfolio throughout the pandemic.

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OPINION: To build sustainable ocean economies, start by investing in women – Thomson Reuters Foundation

Some 60 million women work in the fishing industry, making up nearly half that global workforce. But women often do the least recognized and lowest paid jobs – collecting fish on the beach or working side-by-side in processing plants – and have little access to capital to start or grow their own businesses.

They face discrimination, hold few management positions and are underrepresented in decision-making groups about investments for sustainable fisheries. And yet evidence shows that when we invest in women, they are empowered to conserve and manage natural resources like our oceans, which yields better results than when they are excluded. READ MORE

Financing a sustainable ocean economy – Nature

The ocean, which regulates climate and supports vital ecosystem services, is crucial to our Earth system and livelihoods. Yet, it is threatened by anthropogenic pressures and climate change. A healthy ocean that supports a sustainable ocean economy requires adequate financing vehicles that generate, invest, align, and account for financial capital to achieve sustained ocean health and governance. However, the current finance gap is large; we identify key barriers to financing a sustainable ocean economy and suggest how to mitigate them, to incentivize the kind of public and private investments needed for top-notch science and management in support of a sustainable ocean economy. READ MORE

5 Questions with Durreen Shahnaz – Morgan Stanley Alumni

Former Morgan Stanley analyst Durreen Shahnaz is the founder and CEO of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX). As the first Bangladeshi woman investment banker on Wall Street, Shahnaz has focused her career on giving value to those who are typically invisible to financial markets.  Founded in 2009, IIX is a global organization that is, according to their website1, “dedicated to building a more inclusive world by changing financial systems and innovating solutions for women empowerment, climate action, and community resilience.” In 2017, Shahnaz was the recipient of the Oslo Business for Peace Award2. In addition to her role as a social entrepreneur, Shahnaz was a professor at the National University of Singapore and also a media executive at Hearst Magazines.  READ MORE