One of the outcomes of the G8 Social Impact Investment Forum in June is the establishment of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce. This Taskforce represents a commitment by G8 governments to foster the social investment market.
Within approximately the next 12 months, the Taskforce aims to report on three things: a complementary policy framework that would allow impact investment to reach a tipping point; a standardized approach to measuring social outcomes; and methods for foundations, institutions, and private investors to invest.
At Social Capital Markets 2013, attendees were formally introduced to the members of the Taskforce for the first time. Matt Bannick of Omidyar Network, who himself is a member, and Jonathan Greenblatt, who is the Director of the Office of Social Innovation at the White House, were there to make the announcement.
The members are:
Dr. Lieve Fransen, European Commission (EU)
Hugues Sibille, Crédit Coopératif (France)
Claude Leroy-Themeze, Ministry of Economy and Finance (France)
Nadia Voisin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (France)
Brigitte Mohn, Bertelsmann Foundation (Germany)
Susanne Dorasil, Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany)
Giovanna Melandri, Uman Foundation (Italy)
Mario Calderini, University of Turin Politecnico (Italy)
Mario La Torre, La Sapienza University – Rome (Italy)
Sir Ronald Cohen, Big Society Capital and The Portland Trust (UK)
Kieron Boyle, Cabinet Office (UK)
Matt Bannick, Omidyar Network (USA)
Don Graves, The White House and US Department of Treasury (USA)
At this point, it was only announced that the Taskforce will have representatives from Canada and observer representatives from the Australian Government and Development Finance Institutions.
Sir Ronald Cohen will be leading the Taskforce. He is known for founding Social Finance, the organization responsible for developing social impact bonds, and his work in the private equity and venture capital areas, having established one of Britain’s first venture capital firms. Cohen is also currently the Chair of Big Society Capital.
With the Taskforce and G8 countries on board, there are strong validations for the idea of impact investing. “Having a body like the G8 be interested in impact investing has put that on the agenda. It’s terrific in and of its own right. It gives the emerging sector a level of visibility that we haven’t to date,” said Matt Bannick. “But let me be also clear, it is ultimately about getting stuff done.”
Although impact investing is a typically praised concept of investing capital in entrepreneurs, ventures, and organizations that could produce a financial return and create some sort of positive impact to society, there has been criticism about the need to actually demonstrate impact on the ground.
Still, Bannick explains, “I do think the G8 is a terrific venue. I do think things can get done in that venue in collaboration with social and private sector.”
Photo from G8 Summit 2013.
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