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Impact Investors Choose Clean Energy

The results of Australia’s first survey of impact investors reveals that clean energy is the No. 1 priority for future investment.  Impact investing has risen high on the agenda for philanthropists who are looking for new and innovative ways to address entrenched problems. This study is a milestone for the sector, covering 123 investors across four areas: philanthropists; institutional investors; individuals; and not for profits.

We took a closer look at the study to see how impact investment is faring in the philanthropic sector – namely trusts, foundations and private ancillary funds. Here’s what we found:

  • 45 philanthropies responded to the survey – this was the largest response group of the four (total 123)
  • Total AUM of the philanthropies that responded was $1.3 billion, with the average corpus size being $41 million
  • 42% of the philanthropies that responded are currently active in impact investing
  • Of those who are not active, 81% are either curious, interested or very interested in the area
  • By far, the main motivation for impact investing amongst philanthropies is mission alignment
  • For philanthropies currently active in impact investing:
    • Clean energy is the most popular investment area for the future, and is the second most popular investment area right now
    • Most are interested in private equity or venture capital, impact bonds and ‘real assets’ (real estate, land, agriculture, infrastructure etc), with less interest in public equities
    • Almost half expect competitive market returns, while 25% had expectations of below market or capital preservation returns.
    • 81% expected verified evidence of the social or environmental impact of the investment
    • 57% felt that their impact investments had met or exceeded their financial return expectations whilst 76% said that they had met or exceeded social or environmental impact performance

Read the full report.