Webinar: How to Identify and Call Out Impact-Washing

The second webinar in the ClearlySo collaboration with Octopus Investments and Paul Hastings focused on exploring impact investment funds across asset classes, with particularly look at the topic of impact-washing.

June 15, 2020

How to Identify and Call Out Impact-Washing

The topic of this webinar, the second in our series, is ‘How to identify and call out impact-washing – the chasm between the CSR press release and effective impact investment strategies’.

With almost all large established asset management firms announcing a shift towards ESG/sustainable/impact strategies in the last 24 months, it is becoming harder and harder for asset owners to assess which fund managers and products are actually going to deliver on their promises to ‘change the world’ or ‘solve some of society’s and the planet’s biggest problems’.

Some commentators view the rapid rise of funds describing themselves as “impactful” as an extremely encouraging development in bringing non-financial issues to the forefront. Others are concerned that several recent entrants offer a mere fig-leaf of impact covering to what are essentially mainstream fund products. The debate around impact metrics and reporting also complicates this question.

This panel will discuss some of the key questions and concerns LP investors’ face when assessing new impact fund products, and how to ensure the positive impacts promised by managers will actually be achieved.

Find out more and register for our upcoming webinars in the Impact Investment Funds Webinar Series, series below:

  • Debt Funds – Thursday 25th June at 2:00pm (BST)


Speaker Profiles

Hortense Bioy, CFA, is Director of Sustainability and Passive Strategies Research within the Morningstar Manager Research team in Europe. Based in London, Hortense spearheads Morningstar’s ESG research agenda in EMEA, with the objective of educating investors and providing them with the tools they need to evaluate funds through an ESG lens. She also leads an award-winning team that provides independent research on ETFs and index funds.

Chris co-founded Octopus in 2000 from the front room of his London flat. Today, Chris is an award-winning entrepreneur whose role is to develop Octopus relationships with institutional investors around the world. Additionally, Chris spends his time championing British entrepreneurialism and promoting policy ideas to drive business growth, by meeting UK business leaders and stakeholders such as MPs and government ministers.

Piet Klop has been developing PGGM’s portfolio of “investing in solutions” to the Sustainable Development Goals, including impact measurement. He also leads PGGM’s engagement efforts around water risk. Before joining PGGM Investments in July 2011, Piet was at the World Resources Institute in Washington DC and held senior positions at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the private sector. As water resources expert he worked at the World Bank and United Nations. Piet holds master’s degrees in Water Resources Management (Wageningen University, 1989) and Applied Environmental Economics (University of London, 1999).

Rod Schwartz is CEO and Founder of ClearlySo, with a background in equity research, management, investment banking and venture capital. Joining Wall Street in 1980, he rose to become the number one ranked financial services analyst at PaineWebber and then held senior management posts at Lehman Brothers and Paribas, before leaving the sector in 1997 to found the fintech-oriented VC firm Catalyst. A pioneer in the impact investment marketplace, he transformed Catalyst into a social business consultancy, which in 2008 morphed into ClearlySo, a business designed, “to help create 100 Justgivings”. This seemed an exciting new style of company, which achieves significant impact as well as great financial returns.

Rekha is the Co-Head for Impact Investing at Nuveen. Rekha was an early visionary and established the intentional and leadership impact investing platform for TIAA, and is responsible for determining Nuveen’s impact investment strategy across sectors, asset classes, and regions. Rekha is responsible for managing impact investments to execute Nuveen’s commitment across thematic areas of Affordable Housing, Inclusive Growth and Resource Efficiency. Prior to joining Nuveen in 2012, she worked for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a vice president in Institutional Investment Group. She has also held various positions at Merrill Lynch in Institutional Investments, and Investment Oversight and Risk Management.