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Laurie Spengler, Enclude Holding (UK): Impact Investment…

‘The world’s population is now over 8 billion. China and India have emerged as the two largest economies. The number of people living on today’s equivalent of $2/day has declined in the BRIC countries, including India, the one where we sit today; but poverty remains at stubbornly persistent rates elsewhere. The US has emerged as the leader of the clean tech revolution, sharing ideas, products, information and capital to a growing global clean tech industry…

Our current context highlights the need for change:

  • In America, we have been reminded recently that the number of individuals living in poverty increased to 43.6 million in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008, the largest number in the 51 years that this data has been collected. Almost 26% of African Americans live in poverty, 25% of Hispanics, and 9.4% percent of Whites.
  • Globally, the trends are the same: The global crisis has slowed the pace of poverty reduction. The World Bank estimates that about 40 million more people became hungry in 2009 and 64 million more people were living on under USD $1.25 a day, or in extreme poverty, by the end of 2010.
  • In terms of financial resources, only 5% of available capital is being tapped to support investments with a social and development purpose. TBLI founder & CEO Robert Rubinstein recently urged financial institutions to take the lead in creating a sustainable economy by increasing Impact Investment. Rubinstein: “International politics has failed in prioritizing sustainability. Therefore the financial sector has to act as a role model and put environmental, social and governance issues on top of their investment agenda.”

laurie-spenglerSo how do we get from here to the more positive future snapshot with which I opened?

WE MUST CHANGE FINANCE IN ORDER TO FINANCE CHANGE, change that is real and that is sustainable. How…

  1. The “Supply” Side: Eliminating the world of bifurcated capital and reframing return expectations;
  2. The “Demand” side: building “to scale” the world of impact investment opportunities;
  3. The measurement imperative: Challenging ourselves to measure impact reliably, transparently, and robustly.

In 2025, in our communities we will have moved beyond a world where we are able to describe impact investing – “we know it when we see it” – to a world where we are engaged in impact investing – “we know what we want and we build it;” a world that passionately and proactively reflects and responds to the needs of the communities in which we live!

In 2010, we are eager to learn more about the richness of the impact investing universe, to generate greater awareness and to put our own financial resources to work in ways that improve the lives of one another and those around us. This is about the “we” in all of us.’


Remarks courtesy of SBI President and CEO, Laurie Spengler. Featured at event: SRI in the Rockies, San Antonio, Texas. Novmber 20, 2010. Full remarks.


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