The third edition of the “State of the Field” session for SOCAP22 delves into how attendees and others in the SOCAP community can help broaden awareness of impact management and stakeholder benefit among investors and business leaders.
In this conversation, Monique Aiken, Managing Director, The Investment Integration Project (TIIP), and Co-Founder, Make Justice Normal; Fran Seegull, President, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance; and Cathy Clark, Faculty Director at CASE, Duke University Fuqua School of Business, set a foundation for attendees and others in the SOCAP community.
With ESG investing making waves on the national stage, Seegull says the impact investing community has an opportunity to reclaim the conversation and reverse the recent politicization of its priorities. SOCAP22 provides an opportunity to discuss recent pushback against ESG investing and instead build on the greater awareness of the impact investing field, she says.
It also serves as a chance to focus on effective practices, Clark says, especially impact management. “We in the impact investing community have been the R&D arm for how to do impact management for more than 25 years. We need to leverage that expertise,” she says. “Here’s how you deliberately manage positive impact on stakeholders, on Sustainable Development Goals, on other global issues.”
By joining the national conversation and providing easy-to-understand ways for people to determine their next steps in impact, the SOCAP community can help broaden knowledge of impact management as part of ESG while also building a more inclusive and regenerative economy, Clark says. That includes providing business leaders with a better understanding of impact management for stakeholders — the people, planet, and practices that are behind the ESG acronym.
“There is an underlying challenge that a lot of people aren’t talking about. At the end of the day, you have to manage tradeoffs between your stakeholders,” she says. “For every dollar that a business generates, you have to decide which of those stakeholders is going to get it. We have to be more deliberate and transparent about what leads to those decisions and whether they work.”
The last year also has sparked more frequent discussions of the need for meaningful change with a focus on inclusion, Aiken says. “Suddenly there are a lot more people talking about systems and systems change in our field,” she says. “Folks are also talking about democracy and the need to emancipate the vote. At SOCAP22, we will be getting to action and centering justice.”
Take a listen to the previous years’ SOCAP State of the Field conversations:
- SOCAP21: State of the Field and Practice of Impact Investing
- SOCAP Virtual: State of the Impact Investing Field