Global Insights Series | October 2023 | Social Impact

17 October 2023 by Ian Povey-Hall
blog author

​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

Job Titles:

  • 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

Sample Responsibilities

  • 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