May 13, 2024

Scaling Impact Investing in Canada through Mobilizing Asset Owners

Today, Quinn+Partners is celebrating the release of the report Scaling Impact Investing in Canada By Mobilizing Asset Owners. The report is the first initiative by the Canadian Impact Investing Working Group, a collective of 10 leading asset owners and asset managers looking to support the growth and scale of impact investing in Canada. Quinn+Partners is proud to have collaborated with the CIIWG on this important initiative.  

Untapped Potential

As global challenges such as climate change and inequality persist, capital allocators are increasingly looking at impact investing as an essential solution to generating a more just and sustainable economy. In 2023, impact investments – investments made with the intent of generating positive, measurable, social and environmental impact alongside a financial return – exceeded USD 1 tn in assets under management (AUM) globally for the first time.

While the market continues to grow in Canada, many believe that mobilizing the untapped potential of Canadian asset owners will help drive market growth, similar to other markets like the US and Europe. In doing so, the impact AUM in Canada can triple from its current CAD 14 bn to an estimated CAD 46 bn by 2030.

About the Report

The report released today highlights the drivers, solutions and recommendations for asset owners to overcome barriers they face to engage in impact investing. The insights are based on research and interviews with 24 investors from across Canada, representing over CAD 1.5 tn in assets under management, and include:

  • Leading asset owners are already engaging in impact investing. Their mandates are driven by leaders, boards and organizational cultures that are driven by innovation to meet the evolving needs of beneficiaries who increasingly expect their capital to be stewarded towards positive change
  • Many asset owners have started to see impact investing as a viable investment tool that not only fits within their fiduciary duty in generating non-concessional returns, but also helps mitigate against systemic risks and create long-term value for their beneficiaries
  • Greater alignment on the impact investing principles, and how to clearly define impact investing best practices, would encourage more asset owners to participate
  • Canadian impact investing AUM can be unlocked by addressing perceptions of “labelling risk” and helping asset owners avoid the potential risks of greenwashing

Recommendations to Mobilize Capital

The report provides a call to action and 18 recommendations that will help stakeholders across the Canadian impact investing ecosystem – including academics, financial institutions industry and professional associations, intermediaries and advisors, investment consultants in addition to experienced impact investors – work with asset owners to drive capital towards impact. The recommendations are grouped around five major themes:

  1. Mainstream – Clarify the principles of impact investing to broaden engagement
  2. Develop Product – Increase supply, size and diversification of impact investing opportunities
  3. Accelerate Capacity Building – Expand education, awareness and training efforts
  4. Collaborate – Move faster together through cooperation
  5. Advocate – Demand policy and regulations that will incentivize capital deployment

The report also outlines specific steps investors can take as they progress along their impact investing journey to deploy more capital to drive positive outcomes for people and the planet (see page 50).

Moving forward

At Quinn+Partners, our experienced team continues to advise investors at various stages of their impact journey.

We are excited to champion several of the report’s recommendations:

  • 1.2 Align on a minimum standard for applying impact investing principles (e.g. Operating Principles for Impact Management)  
  • 3.3 Provide direct training opportunities tailored to specific stakeholder groups and investment decision-makers
  • 3.4 Develop mechanisms for experimenting with impact investing

If you are looking to learn more about how we can help, visit our website and get in touch.

To download the full report and executive summary, complete the form below (French versions will be available soon):

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