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Putting investment at the service of the greater good

RAISE Impact

Finance suffers from a great lack of popularity. It is sometimes seen as a haven for businessmen whose only goal is to get richer, and sometimes as the cause of every issue in our society. This suspicion stems from the opacity and complexity of finance, which makes it difficult for the uninitiated (i.e., almost the entire population) to understand.

The investment world is no exception to this depreciatory view. Investment funds, asset management companies and, more generally, all the tools that enable investment are seen as a way to get richer when you already have money, without any additional value for society. To prove the opposite is difficult. Can finance have other objectives than financial profit?

HOW DID DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW EMERGE?

Facing the emergence of so many environmental and societal issues, all spheres of society began to rethink the way they operate. The realization that everyone had a role to play was shared by a few outsiders in the investment world, who had a common desire: to put finance at the service of the greater good.

How could it be done? Several ways of doing so emerged, such as the possibility of banning certain areas of investments considered harmful to society. Or the possibility of guaranteeing the best possible inclusion within the financial organization itself to set an example. Or the choice to support projects that will have a positive impact on society and to accompany other companies in their positive transformation.

This is how impact finance was born.

Using the influence that investors can have to favor the emergence of new players that include social, societal, and environmental issues at the heart of their projects.

Working to sway the companies in which they hold a share of the capital so that they take impact into account.

Over the past few years, this model has attracted many finance workers, who have chosen either to devote part of their resources to impact projects, or to open an activity devoted to the issue, or even to create new projects that would be entirely dedicated to impact. And surprisingly, all the links in their ecosystem have followed!

This is the case of investors, who entrust large sums to funds or asset management companies so that they can invest in different projects. These investors are large companies, banks, insurers, wealthy families, institutions… And among all these categories, impact-oriented players have appeared. What are they looking for? The same thing as all those individuals who choose to recycle: to contribute to a beneficial change.

Of course, in a world where image has become intrinsically linked to profit, some might argue that the only intention is to seek benefit elsewhere through good publicity, which is called impact-washing. In addition, in any case, an impact investment does not mean losing money. So how can we be sure that the impact projects seek the greater good? Well, RAISE Impact’s experience proves it.

THE RAISE IMPACT EXAMPLE

RAISE is an asset management company born out of a desire to create a philanthropic finance and a benevolent economy movement. RAISE has its own foundation that voluntarily supports young startups. In 2019, RAISE, thanks to the support of the largest French foundation, the Fondation de France, created RAISE Impact: its business is solely and exclusively dedicated to impact companies. RAISE Impact specializes in projects related to the energy transition, the ecological transition and social inclusion. It develops an Impact Measurement and Management Methodology, which RAISE Impact uses to accompany its participations and places at the disposal of all.

RAISE Impact recently organized an Investor Day: an event bringing together the investors, the team, and the companies in which RAISE Impact have invested. Each link in the chain had the opportunity to express its ambitions in terms of impact, and these moments prove that everyone is working not for their image but for a better future. The impact fund teams presented their news and methodology, and while investors could have demanded more profit, they chose to see further ahead and to challenge the team on their impact engagement: precision of the measurement, adaptability of the methodology, investment criteria… It was the same for the companies RAISE Impact invest in, which answered to pointed issues on how they work to change society for the better at their level.

This cohesion of values allows impact projects to be carried high. It is essential that the support does not stop at the first stage of the investment and lasts over time, and that impact projects remain proactive. RAISE Impact has seen incredible progress happen because of this general willingness to make impact a concrete measurement tool. For instance, 4 of RAISE Impact’s investments have agreed to pay a service provider to measure the financial impact of their ESG (environment, social and governance) policy on society, and most of the management of their investments have agreed to tie their management package (i.e., their bonuses) to their ESG results.

Moreover, this methodology allows to put concrete figures on constant efforts: the investments of RAISE Impact can for example now congratulate themselves on the 15 873 tons of CO2 their activities have prevented from being released the past year. It is a way to realize how far we have come and to always strive for a better performance impact.

It is in this spirit of proactivity that RAISE Impact is constantly developing and readjusting its impact measurement and management methodology. This methodology, which RAISE Impact tests internally with their participants, they have chosen to share it with everyone for free. They are proud to bring outstanding investors and remarkable companies together so that they can change the world for the better.

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