An analogy of climbing a mountain was the dominant theme throughout our final Impact Investing advisory group on Thursday, November 9th. But, rather than being a disheartening image, analogies like this can help to conceptualise the task at hand. In this case, it helped us to visualise the complexities of the Impact investing landscape, alongside the data flows within it and the standards and regulatory frameworks underpinning it. 

Starting is, as it always is, the most important part of the journey and this helped us steer clear of decision inertia. And so, with our advisory group members as our guides, we began to refine the focus of our work, finding a point of leverage that would provide both environmental and financial impact.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), estimates the size of the impact investing market to be around $1.164 trillion in assets under management. This underscores just how substantial the market is and how instrumental it could be in mobilising finance towards net-zero. 

Now, with our Impact Investing project drawing to a close, we have drafted our recommendations for COP28. Looking at how to develop environmental data in ESG to better enable impact investment decisions in the commercial built environment.

Our recommendations: 

  1. Organisations must produce discoverable and usable digital environmental ESG reports of their transition to net zero.
  2. Organisations must publish the data behind environmental ESG reports in machine-readable formats.
  3. The granularity of environmental data in ESG reports must be improved.
  4. Organisations must demand data-backed standardised environmental reporting from their supply chains.
  5. Regulators and reporting bodies must mandate and finance a trusted data sharing ecosystem.

These recommendations have been shaped and refined through collaborative efforts with our advisory group members. The outcome is five data-centred points of leverage that we believe could accelerate the impact investing market’s transition to net-zero. 

Now, as we look to the future, governments and regulators will undoubtedly play a central role, with uncertainties looming up ahead in the form of a new election cycle in the UK. Equally, there is promising legislation on the horizon with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) creating a common framework for sustainability reporting. Either way, we have, and will continue to encounter tough terrain on this journey. But, with data as our rope and harness, our sights are fixed firmly on the summit that is net-zero.