Field Notes: This Year in Impact Investing

This GIIN report, using data collected in the impact sector, finds that most investments perform as or better than expected.

The Global Impact Investing Network's sixth edition of their annual impact investor survey is based on the responses of 158 organizations worldwide. The respondents of the survey reveal a staggering $15.2 billion in commitments to 7,551 impact investment deals in 2015 with plans to deploy $17.7 billion this year, a 16 percent increase. 

The report shows 99 percent of the investments perform in-line or outperforming relative to impact expectations while 89 percent perform in-line with or outperform relative to their financial expectations.

With the divestment movement in full swing it may seem like environmental issues are garnering the most attention from investors. However, only five percent of respondents list environmental issues as their primary focus. The remaining 95 percent either focus on social issues, or both environmental and social themes. Some of the most common social impact themes mentioned are financial inclusion, employment, health and education:

Respondents highlighted several areas that had been lagging in terms of progress. Suitable exit options and government support ranked as the two most stagnant issues in the space:

Although there is a surge in interest in impact investing, the relatively new field still faces notable challenges according to the survey's respondents. The survey asked organizations to rank the top five challenges out of a nine choices with the following results: 

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