david woodOn September 25th in Lisbon, the Young Foundation and the Plataforma para Crescimento Sustentavel, with support from the European Union, convened a public debate on “A Strategy for the Civic Economy in Portugal” at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Sociais e Politicas at the University of Lisbon. The goal of the meeting was to explore how the public sector can support new strategies to deliver social services, pegged to the announcement of a 150 million euro Social Innovation Fund (SIF) meant to kickstart new forms of social investment in Portugal.

This fascinating meeting raised important questions about the intersection of public policy and social impact investment, and offers a concrete frame on which to explore the issue of how private investment can be directed to public purpose. This is important work. At the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University, we have been exploring these questions both in the US and global context, so it was a special treat to see the conversation in Portugal around the SIF begin on the ground floor.

Three topics particularly resonated with me as the debate took shape:

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Jay pictureThis article was written by Jay Youngdahl, a Senior Fellow at the IRI. This article was originally posted by and written for the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

John D. Rogers, the former head of the CFA Institute believes so. And he has a plan.

The financial community today is properly reviled by many. The financialization of the economy, with its “too big to fail” banks and investments undecipherable even by those who traded them, brought the world to its knees in the 2008 financial crash. Researchers at the Federal Reserve have estimated that this catastrophic event cost the world between $50 trillion and $90 trillion.

Thoughtful men and women who work in the financial arena realize they must work to restore trust in their profession for their own sake and for the sake of the global economy. To regain this trust they must acknowledge the mistakes of the past and chart an efficacious and ethical path forward. Finance must return to the primary reason for its existence, the support and building of sustainable economies and healthy families, instead of playing the parasitic role it has played in recent decades. [read more...]

image003 The Impact Investing Policy in 2014: A Snapshot of Global Activity report is a first-of-its-kind publication focusing on country- or issue-areas relevant to impact investing, ranging from: conceptual pieces on the development and mapping of the policy system; to examples of specific policies that have supported market development; and insights from private firms into how impact investing intersects with other key market areas such as international development and infrastructure investment. This IIPC report broadens the conversation from what public policy could enable, to what public policy is enabling in so many different countries and markets. [read more...]