Present at the Creation: Amit Bouri looking ahead as `impact investing’ turns 10

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Among the big new things introduced in the year 2007 were the iPhone and Airbnb. Amit Bouri, CEO of the Global Impact Investing Network, is hoping that in time the year will also mark the beginning of a movement that will transform global finance: impact investing.

Under different names, of course, the practice is much older. But the term itself dates to meetings at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio retreat center on Lake Como in Italy in 2007 and 2008. Ten years later, the field has grown to encompass more than $114 billion dollars of investment capital, according to the GIIN’s latest survey.

“Impact investing” was intended to be “a unifying brand to describe an activity that had been happening in many ways for many decades,” Bouri told ImpactAlpha’s David Bank on the latest Returns on Investment podcast. The practice included microfinance, community development finance and social enterprise investing.

But, it also described an ambitious goal. The coiners wanted “to change the way that people were thinking about investing broadly,” Bouri said.

Bouri is the first to admit that there is a long way to go. “We need to continue to grow investments themselves, and move more capital in,” he said. “But we also have this exciting opportunity that we can actually have an impact on how investing is done.”