Beats | April 1, 2019

Impact investing assets reach $502 billion, plus or minus $50 billion

David Bank
ImpactAlpha Editor

David Bank

The new headline number for the scale of impact investing assets under manager comes with a few asterisks.

The Global Impact Investing Network estimates that 1,340 organizations managed just over a half-trillion dollars at the end of last year, with more than half managing less than $29 million and a few that manage more than $1 billion.

In “Sizing the Impact Investing Market,” the GIIN departs from the methodology of its annual survey (which last year found $228 billion in assets under management) to estimate the market’s total size.

Impact investing assets under management grew to more than $228 billion last year

This year, the GIIN extrapolated from data on about 750 organizations to estimate assets for another 600 firms. Researchers applied average annual growth rates to square up the data, and reductions to account for double counting (for example, a family office that invests with a fund manager that invests in an enterprise). Statistically, the assumptions introduce a margin of error of less than 10%.

The GIIN didn’t make its own determinations about which investments should “count” as impact investments, instead relying on firms’ self-reported data.

Whatever the real number, it remains small compared to the estimated $13 trillion in professionally managed assets screened for at least one “sustainability” principle.

The new tally of “sustainable” assets in the U.S.: $12 trillion

“There is great potential for these investors who have already aligned their capital with their values to more intentionally use their investments to fuel progress through impact investments,” the report concludes. Behind the numbers.