The Social Impact Investment Taskforce met for the first time this week at the White House in Washington, DC.
Social investment is the use of finance to tackle difficult social issues without placing the burden on the taxpayer. It connects people with money to charities and social enterprises which need the money to grow so that they can expand their services and do more good for society.
The UK has taken the international lead in developing the social impact investment market, with the Prime Minister hosting the first G8 level conference in June 2013. The taskforce was launched at that conference with the aim of helping to grow the global market for social investment.
Led by Sir Ronald Cohen, Chair of Big Society Capital, and with the Cabinet Office acting as secretariat, the taskforce will bring together government officials and senior figures from the worlds of finance, business and philanthropy from across the G8 countries.
At this week’s meeting, taskforce members heard from leaders such as Jonathan Greenblatt, Special Assistant to the President; Danielle Gray, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary; Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO at Nonprofit Finance Fund; Tracy Palandjian, CEO at Social Finance US and Luther M Ragin, Jr, CEO at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).
With input from these experts, taskforce members discussed ways to establish a common global approach to measurement of social impact and the best approaches for encouraging increased engagement from mainstream investors, foundations and development finance institutions.
In addition, it was announced that in order to inform governments and the worlds of finance and industry about what needs to be done to develop this important market, Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief at The Economist, will publish a report on the work of the taskforce in September 2014.
This week’s meeting also coincided with the first meeting of the US National Advisory Board on impact investment. This board is composed of leaders from the US market who will discuss areas of national priority in impact investment and support the work of the US representatives on the taskforce. The other G8 countries are in the process of setting up similar boards.
Members of the taskforce
The official members of the taskforce are:
- UK: Sir Ronald Cohen (Big Society Capital and The Portland Trust) and Kieron Boyle (Cabinet Office)
- Canada: Ted Anderson (MaRS Centre for Impact Investing) and Siobhan Harty (Employment and Social Development Canada)
- European Union: Lieve Fransen (European Commission)
- France: Hugues Sibille (Crédit Coopératif) and Nadia Voisin (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) / Claude Leroy-Themeze (Treasury, Ministry of Economy and Finance)
- Germany: Brigitte Mohn (Bertelsmann Foundation) and Susanne Dorasil (Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)
- Italy: Giovanna Melandri (Uman Foundation) and Mario Calderini (University of Turin Politecnico) / Mario Latorre (La Sapienza University Rome)
- USA: Matt Bannick (Omidyar Network) and Don Graves (Department of Treasury)
- Australia (observer): Rosemary Addis (Department for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations)
- Development Finance Institutions (observer): Elizabeth Littlefield (OPIC)
- Official Report: Matthew Bishop (The Economist)