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Clean cookstoves on the hot seat: Lessons from social impact hits and misses

“Clean cookstoves fail to save African kids,” read last week’s headline in The Hindu, one of India’s leading newspapers. A few days later, Fortune magazine reported, “Mobile Banking Lifting Hundreds of Thousands from Poverty.” The divergent headlines, and the studies behind them, mask more complex realities. Not all cookstove projects are failures, and not all

The Five-Minute Loan: How India Stack is Speeding Loans to Small Businesses

We recently met Ajay, a fruit vendor in Mumbai who struggles to pay the 60 percent annual interest rate on a loan from his local money lender. Ajay was saddled with this debt, unable to refinance or raise more capital to buy a second fruit cart. Last month, that changed. Using just his mobile phone,

Is Impact Investing Ready for the Trump Era? (Podcast)

Boy, were we wrong. First, we devoted a whole Returns on Investment podcast to the future of impact investing under President Hillary Rodham Clinton. Then, we did a follow-up that still held out hope that President-elect Trump might soften his hardline position against urgent action on climate change. The latest podcast was recorded before Trump

GIIN Forum Reflects New Urgency and Maturing Market

Amsterdam — More money, bigger investors, diverse products and specialized funds: This is what market evolution looks like. [blockquote author=”Christiana Figueres” pull=”pullleft”]How you invest money over the next five years will determine how the world looks in 300 years.[/blockquote] At the Global Impact Investing Network’s forum here last week, 800 investors and industry leaders gathered to cheer the

This venture capitalist is happy to accept below market returns

To tradeoff or not to tradeoff: that is not the question, according to Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam. Rather, investors who accept below-market returns should demand to know how that concession is helping to catalyze new markets that can drive positive social change. In the winter issue

Impact Investing Deals Start to Flow in Central America and the Caribbean

Antigua, Guatemala was the place last month to take stock of the impact investing ecosystem in Central America and the Caribbean. More than 350 investors, entrepreneurs and other participants from 34 countries gathered at the Latin American Impact Investment Forum for Central America and the Caribbean. Education and courage are key to strengthening the regional

Circular Logic: Europeans Finding Efficiency and Opportunity in the Circular Economy

Barcelona, Spain – Waste not, want not. Or more precisely, waste less, earn more. It’s a formula that markets are increasingly adopting as global leaders learn to cope with the growth in population – and consumption. By 2025 cities will be producing 2.2 billion tonnes of solid waste annually, doubling 2012 levels. By 2030, 3 billion new customers will have entered the market. By