ESG Does Not Equal Impact Investing

December 06, 2022

The popularity of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments has been met recently with heightened public scrutiny as investors have begun to question the legitimacy, efficacy, and measurability of ESG. Whereas ESG is often positioned in the market as a strategy for driving better outcomes for people and planet, it is, in reality, a framework for evaluating how environmental, social, and governance factors can impact a company’s financial performance. The interpretation and application of ESG investing has varied across the industry in ways that have left ESG investors without clearly defined criteria around what constitutes an ESG investment or how that investment contributes to social and environmental outcomes.

How, then, should investors seek to invest in alignment with their values? At GEM, we believe that impact investing—when done well—can offer a more intentional and stakeholder-centered solution. Impact investing prioritizes outcomes on people and the planet alongside financial returns, and utilizes a rigorous and consistent measurement framework that provides investors with clarity and confidence around how their investments can deliver meaningful positive impact.

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