Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today launched a report on impact investment in Australia and its potential to achieve positive social, cultural or environmental benefit and some measure of financial return.
Mr Shorten said the report, IMPACT—Australia: Investment for social and economic benefit showed that Australia was well-placed to leverage the global trends.
“Impact investments are demonstrating ways to achieve substantial benefit for society that would not otherwise occur,” Mr Shorten said.
“Australia hasn’t yet seen a concerted focus on developing the field, but this report shows that the foundations for increasing the scale and scope of impact investing are in place,” he said.
“The insights and lessons contained in the report will help us all to meet the challenge of innovation and collaboration to deliver greater social, cultural and environmental benefits than either traditional grant-making or capital markets can achieve.”
“Examples range from small scale investment in community enterprise and local businesses that create jobs and economic health for communities, to large scale delivery of vaccines to children in developing countries.”
Mr Shorten said Australia’s experience mirrored widespread international developments in this fast-emerging field.
“The report highlights both the need and the possibility in Australia to drive more investment into communities to address the issues we care about as a society,” Mr Shorten said.
“It captures the leadership, passion and creativity of ‘first movers’ across a range of sectors and organisations in Australia whose pioneering efforts provide examples others can follow.
“It also underlines the great potential of cross-sector collaboration in harnessing capital markets to address long-standing social issues and create new opportunities.”
IMPACT—Australia: Investment for social and economic benefit was commissioned by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in collaboration with JBWere.
Some success stories of impact investing include:
• The Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds (SEDIF) extend the impact and reach of social enterprises in their communities. For example, loans from these funds to enterprises could finance the expansion of a disability employment service to provide more quality jobs, provide capital for an Indigenous-run enterprise to operate in their local community and enable an arts cooperative to buy its premises;
• Hepburn Community Wind is Australia’s first cooperatively owned wind farm and has renewable generating capacity for more than 2,000 homes;
• Goodstart Early Learning centres provide quality early learning and care services for over 73,000 children nationwide as a result of an innovative financing structure that combines bank, government and private capital.
Over the next two weeks the report will be discussed at a number of public forums featuring global impact investment pioneer Jed Emerson, who collaborated on the research, and co-author, social innovation strategist, Rosemary Addis.
The report is available at www.deewr.gov.au/impactaustralia