Ceniarth funds solutions which aim to benefit

marginalised and underserved communities, and help enterprises become commercially sustainable in the long term. Some examples of current investments include

those in One Acre Fund, which lends to small farmers in East Africa; Off Grid Electric which provides pay-as-you-go solar home systems; and Tugende (Lendable)—lease to own motorbikes to be used for taxi services in Uganda. “There is a reason commercial markets

have not developed in these places and there is a reason you need impact investors to take sacrifices in order to make a difference,” Neichin says. There is a lot of “noise” about the billions of

dollars going into impact investing. “But the reality for those of us working

with hard marginalised communities, is that that money is not flowing into those kinds of interventions,” Neichin adds. More popular were the “simplest forms of

responsible investing”, like public equity and bond offerings that are environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-oriented. “These are good things, I am not criticising

the availability of these options because they are fantastic way for people to express their values in their investing.” But Neichin says this can lead to the bar

being set too low for investors who come to the market with a hearty risk appetite and ambitious impact goals. “When they are told they can do these simple

responsible investing strategies and they feel like their job is done… The are then sold on an idea that is really not that ambitious [and] they are not really seeing the full set of what they could accomplish if they were willing to push the dial on what is an acceptable return on their investment activity.” Neichin’s comments echo the sentiment

expressed by Bill Gates in a interview for the Financial Times, where the latter warns against investors wanting to “have [their] cake and eat it too”. He also predicted that philanthropy would remain the primary way the wealthy helped tackle social and environmental issues. “So many things have a social return but

not a financial return,” said the Microsoft co- founder. But Bouri says the impact investing sector is a big tent with room for people at all stages.


As far as we can tell, all the areas we could invest in—like poverty alleviation, or culture—will not matter as they are all dependent on climate change

“Some newcomers entering the [impact

investing] market may be bold in their pursuit of impact, and others may be more incremental and cautious,” he says. “For those who choose to start more

incrementally, we wish to embed the mindset that this is the first step in their journey, not the final destination.” According to the GFOR, some family offices

have trouble understanding how to source and implement impact investments—measuring what impact money is having can be challenging when you are primarily staffed and set-up to analyse financial returns. Bouri says naturally, measuring impact

depends on the investment, but could include factors like renewable energy household coverage, the carbon footprint of an industry, or the income level of a certain community.


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