Welcome to Acre’s Sustainable Finance Insights Series, where we’ll be highlighting key sustainability topics for the financial sector. This month, we’ll be focusing on social impact.
The global financial services sector has woken up to the fact that the “S” in ESG can – and should - go far beyond Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) hiring policies. In the US, for example, the social impact agenda is advancing at pace, without some of the negative backlash experienced in relation to environmental issues. In developing markets, where many communities will feel some of the worst effects of climate change, ensuring a just transition is critical.
By grasping the social opportunity, financial institutions may benefit both in value creation and risk management. Greater value may be unlocked by lending to growing markets (such as minority-led businesses) or investing in social impact investment funds, which often outperform traditional funds. Expanding regulatory reporting requirements on social impact across an organisation’s entire value chain creates financial and reputational risks that need to be well managed.
Director of Impact roles are also becoming more prevalent across Acre’s wider corporate client base, beyond financial services.
Alongside the repurposing of existing resource in areas such as risk and reporting to focus on social impact, Acre is seeing an increase in the demand for specific expertise in this space. Examples of these roles, and the types of responsibilities they cover, are outlined below.
Talent Pool Analysis
Human Rights Specialist
Social Impact Manager
Director, Community Investing & Development
Managing Director, DEI & Social Impact
Senior Manager, Transformation, Culture and Change
Head of Sustainability & Social Impact
Social Impact Lead
Director, Impact Measurement & Management
Head, Environmental and Social Impact
Head of Social Impact
Head of Social Impact Investing
Manager, Development Impact Investments
Director, Impact Investments and ESG
Investment Director, Social Impact
Build and evaluate purpose-driven programs to tackle societal challenges
Link business activities with opportunities for social impact and value
Maximise impact through business activities and community investment
Develop KPIs and conduct impact assessments and evaluations of social impact and DEI initiatives
Work to identify, assess, and mitigate risk for human rights issues for potential corporate loans/vendor relationships and recommend how to close the gap in corresponding policies
Develop, execute and monitor the company’s social impact and community engagement projects
Advise executives, cross-functional leadership and external partners on social impact
Engage with stakeholders to collect and analyse data on the effectiveness and efficiency of social impact and EDI initiatives
Monitor emerging business and human rights issues and the implications for the industry and key customer sectors
Design and lead the gender equality strategy and cross-functional governance structures
Advise pension funds, family offices, foundations and fund managers on social impact, helping them to build systems which capture, compare, and assess social performance
Develop social impact performance benchmarks in financial inclusion aggregating data from investments
Develop racial equality guidance for investors with experts, investors and external partners
Source social impact venture investment and blended finance opportunities
Screen and structure partnerships with social venture capital funds, seeking positive correlation between social impact and financial return
Lead the portfolio for social impact, developing the strategic focus for investment teams to execute across the investment life cycle
Develop strategies, tools, guidance materials and due diligence processes for use in funding cycles for social impact projects
Measure, manage and articulate social impact made by the fund’s investments
Financial management, impact measurement and monitoring of the social impact portfolio, including the development of financial models, risk analysis and reporting
We hope you have found this a useful snapshot of the market.
Drawing on Acre’s extensive network of sustainability professionals across all sectors and geographies, we are advising our clients on how to incorporate the right expertise into their businesses and assess the best talent in the market.
If you would like to receive our monthly email with a more detailed, sector-level breakdown focused on banking, investment management or private market funds, please get in touch with Ian Povey-Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.