Impact Investing: Resources for Faculty

  Impact Investing:  Resources for Faculty



Investing involves both financial returns and a positive social effect:

Return on Investment = Profits + Social Values

Impact Investing is investing…

 … In businesses that create value through fulfilling neglected social (or environmental) needs

Social impact: inherent part of the corporate strategy / mission

… Where you measure the impact on everyone involved with the business

Data: on investor, employee, customer, etc., outcomes

… In a competitive market environment

Market discipline: Accountability, transparency, efficiency

Impact investing requires investing in companies with corporate social responsibility as an inherent part of their mission. When engaging in impact investing, the impact of the investment on all stakeholders must be considered.  In addition, impact investing must take place in a market environment that is competitive and innovative.  Impact investing is concerned with creating value for human flourishing.

Our goal is to further the exploration of this field, to consider how Mendoza College of Business faculty are contributing to impact investing teaching and scholarship, and to learn from other examples as we enhance our attention to the topic in our teaching.


This internal list of resources is a working document; we welcome additions that our MCOB colleagues have found useful as we strive to collect accessible tools for teaching.


Definitions & Emerging Research:

“The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is an international network of investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. Its goal is to understand the implications of sustainability for investors and support signatories to incorporate these issues into their investment decision making and ownership practices.  In implementing the Principles, signatories contribute to the development of a more sustainable global financial system.”   Related:

Emerging Harvard Business School research on impact investing and social enterprise.

“Integrated Reporting:  Going beyond the financial results” report by PwC.

Includes link to PDF of an impact investing primer.  Also includes highlights of businesses engaged in impact investing.

Resources and reports.  Goals:  “Catalyze platforms for collective action that enable leading impact investors and intermediaries to coordinate efforts; Support the development of scaled intermediation vehicles that help absorb impact investments at a scale; Build industry-wide infrastructure that enables broader and more effective participation in the impact investing industry; Support research and advocacy efforts that promote an analytical understanding of the impact investing industry.”

Pope Francis on Impact Investing; Vatican conference sponsored by MCOB, CRS and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Impact Investing in the energy sector

“The middle ground between traditional philanthropic and commercial spaces is a continuum; we need to shift the dialogue from morals to tools.”

Impact Investing mitigating the effects of climate change; the rise of impact investing.

JPMorgan Chase & The Nature Conservancy report

 “The buzz around impact investing as a breakthrough solution for persistent, large-scale problems seems to extend far and wide. But there are divergent viewpoints on how impact investing might contribute to conservation….  This difference in perspective stems in part from the lack of data about current activity…. To address this dearth of reliable data, a group of us from diverse institutions—the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, EKO Asset Management, the Nature Conservancy, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.—came together to conduct the first systematic analysis of the conservation impact investing market.”

“Twenty percent of $45 trillion is a big number: $9 billion, to be exact. That's the amount forecast to be invested by the top 125 leading impact investors this year, according to a study by the Global Impact Investment Network and JPMorgan Chase. The $45 trillion? That's the amount of dollars parked in mainstream investment funds that includes ESG factors in investment decisions. A 20% increase of that figure directed toward impact investing puts the practice on a fast track in financial markets. Impact investing takes the passive screening frameworks of traditional SRIs to the next level, in which both social values and financial return are measured equally to create a holistic investment valuation.”

PwC report on investor perspectives on impact investing.

Reeder, Neil and Colantonio, Andrea (2013) Measuring impact: critical overview of concepts and practice. EIBURS Working Paper, 2013/01. LSE Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.


Impact investing is a form of investment that has risen to prominence in recent years. Compared to other forms of socially responsible investment, the most prominent feature of impact investing is a focus on measuring the social and environmental return that it generates. In response, much effort has been undertaken to develop effective measurement systems, but significant confusion remains around the notions of ‘non-financial return’ and ‘impact’, and their assessment in practice. Thus this paper draws on a range of relevant literature as well as the authors’ previous practical experience to provide a preliminary overview of underlying concepts. Further it begins to cast a critical eye on the roles and responsibilities within measurement, making more explicit the subjective interpretation of social and environmental return (SER) by investors, and the clash of suppositions taken from other older measurement traditions. In doing so, the paper investigates some of the tensions around breadth of coverage, participation and objectivity, rigour and flexibility, attribution of impact, and the very concept of ‘a return’ itself which currently surround practical measurement.

In this context, the paper shows how measurement does not yet appear to have found a pragmatic, participative, systematic way forward, and concludes by identifying key research areas that need to be addressed to advance knowledge in this field. Further empirical data collection and analysis will be undertaken in a subsequent series of papers to be published.



Case Study Web Sites:

Cases and teaching materials at the following sites include a focus on business and social impact, and most are searchable by discipline and topic.

Case studies, emerging research from Harvard Business School’s Impact Investing initiative.  Includes an impact investing course module for use by faculty.  Cases available for purchase; module may provide a model.

“ is an online library of curated reading materials, multimedia content, and teaching modules that focuses on social, environmental and ethical issues in business. is a project of The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education.”  Free access for faculty.

“Giving Voice to Values (GVV) is an innovative, cross-disciplinary business curriculum and action-oriented pedagogical approach for developing the skills, knowledge and commitment required to implement values-based leadership.  Rather than the usual focus on ethical analysis, the GVV curriculum focuses on ethical implementation and asks the question: What would I say and do if I were going to act on my values?  Drawing on the actual experiences of managers as well as multi-disciplinary research, GVV helps students identify the many ways to voice their values in the workplace. It provides the opportunity to script and practice in front of peers, equipping future business leaders not only to know what is right, but how to make it happen.”  Free access for faculty.

“GlobaLens publishes and distributes high-quality, cutting-edge business cases and other teaching materials for business schools around the globe. A division of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, GlobaLens offers a large catalog of international business and social impact materials, in addition to core business cases.”  Free access  to review copies for faculty.

Includes definitions, reports and resources; also includes teaching cases.