LISA SCHEITZA | Research Associate, School of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Hamburg
TIMO BUSCH | Professor, Chair for Management and Sustainability, School of Business, Economics and Social Sciences,University of Hamburg, and Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth, University of Zurich
JOHANNES METZLER | Graduate, School of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Hamburg
Sustainable investing has emerged as an established practice in financial markets, and it accounts for about one-third of global assets under management. Recently, impact investing, i.e., investing with the aim of contributing to real-world changes, has been receiving increasing attention. While the literature so far has focused on theoretical and conceptual considerations of impact investing, in practice it often remains unclear what the requirements of an actual impact investment are.
Nevertheless, some investment products claim to achieve some form of impact. We investigate if this impact-claim is justified. We analyze 185 (so-called) impact funds based on an established classification scheme that outlines the requirements for factual impact investments. We find that only one-third of the impact funds meet the outlined impact requirements. The share is equally low for funds classified under Article 9 of the E.U.’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). When looking at the different asset classes, our results show that the share of funds that meet the requirements for impact-generating investments is higher for private equity and private debt than for public equity and bonds.