Reports and Papers

CI CoverExpanding the Market for Community Investment in the United States (pdfSeptember 2013
Co-authored with US SIF and the Milken Institute, and with generous support from the Ford Foundation, this paper provides a comprehensive look at the current state and potential future of community investment by mapping out available investment products and by strategizing how investors of all portfolio sizes can be engaged in a more impactful way across asset classes and in emergent sectors.

Breaking the Binary photo

Breaking the Binary: Policy Guide to Scaling Social Innovation (pdfApril 2013
Co-authored with the Schwab Foundation for Social Enterpreneurship, InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, and SK Group, this report focuses on policies that support the development of social enterprises globally, with the first half providing a framework for government policy action, supported by case studies, and the second profiling leading social enterprises as a way to illustrate models of social innovation.

On Materiality and Sustainability: The Value of Disclosure in the Capital Markets (pdf) September 2012
The paper discusses the role of mandated corporate sustainability disclosure, touching on several key areas: historic background and current debate concerning corporate disclosure and sustainability, including existing legislation and legal arguments; definition of robust corporate and sustainability data disclosures; increasing interest in material sustainability data from institutional investors, stock exchanges, corporations and regulators; the need for prioritization of material sustainability indicators, current status, methodology; and benefits and costs of mandates material sustainability key performance indicators.

Impact at Scale: Policy Innovation for Institutional Investment with Social and Environmental Benefit (pdf)
February 2012
The second report of the Global Impact Investing Policy Project, a collaboration between the IRI and InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, focuses on the practices of large U.S. institutional investors around impact investing the extensive role of public policy in shaping how institutional investors channel capital. The paper presents three strategies for engaging these institutional asset owners on impact investing, leveraging public policy.

Reason, Rationality and Fiduciary Duty (pdf)
January 2012
The concept of fiduciary duty sits at the confluence of two powerful streams of Western intellectual thought—the legal and the economic.  The legal because fiduciaries are managing the assets of others, whose interests the law seeks to protect. The economic because, in managing these assets, fiduciaries assume the role of investors in the marketplace. The concepts of reason and rationality can work in a complementary fashion to make investment long-term in its perspective and beneficial to society and the real economy as a whole as well as to specific funds or portfolios.

Cash as a Mission-Related Investment (pdf)
February 2011
This paper, co-published with More for Mission, explores the asset class of cash as a vehicle for mission investing. Its goal is to help foundations who wish to engage in the practice
of mission investing—leveraging endowment assets to achieve financial and mission goals—by providing a simple, practical guide to mission-related cash investing.

Impact Investing: A Framework for Policy Design and Analysis (pdf)
January 2011
How can policymakers, investors, and civil society better evaluate and develop impact investment policies? Impact Investing: A Framework for Policy Design and Analysis, a report by the IRI and InSight at Pacific Community Ventures with support from The Rockefeller Foundation as part of the Global Impact Investing Policy Project, draws on case studies from around the world to address this key question.

Doing Business with Community Development Banking Institutions: A Deposits Initiative (pdf)
September 2010
The IRI partnered with the National Community Investing Fund to survey the Operating Account capabilities of Community Development Banking Institutions (CDBI) that work in low-to moderate-income communities. This paper, which provides an overview of the CDBI industry and CDBI profiles, illustrates the wide reach and strength of such organizations.

From Transparency to Performance: Industry-Based Sustainability Reporting on Key Issues (pdf)
July 2010
The paper proposes a method for identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) on the sustainability–or social and environmental–impacts of US corporations in specific industries. The method for developing KPIs for sustainability relies on three principles–simplicity, materiality, and transparency.

How to Read a Corporate Social Responsibility Report (pdf)
January 2010
Whatever name they go by, corporate social responsibility reports seek to serve one essential purpose: they portray the relationship between a corporation and society. This guide is intended to help those approaching CSR reporting for the first time, as well as those looking to deepen their understanding of what makes for a thorough CSR report. It will help readers, whatever their interests or experience, to identify quickly and easily the most valuable parts of these reports.

Value of Social Reporting (pdf)
April 2009
The IRI examined the experiences and practices of seven companies in preparing social reports, focusing not on the social reports themselves, but rather on the process and outcomes of reporting: how companies prepare the reports, the effects of reporting on management practices, the changes companies expect to make in the future, and the lessons they have learned along the way.

Handbook on Climate Related Investing Across Asset Classes (pdf)
April 2009
This handbook is a guide to market-rate investments across portfolios that take into account climate risk and opportunities. It offers interested investors a guide to: devising a portfolio-wide strategy to climate-related investing; identifying the asset-class specific considerations for climate-related investing; and highlighting existing and potential investment opportunities across asset classes.

Fostering Equitable and Sustainable Transit-Oriented Development (pdf)
February 2009
The five papers presented here were written as briefing papers for a meeting convened by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), Living Cities and the IRI, hosted at the Ford Foundation in February 2009. The briefing papers address sustainable TOD, the barriers to achieving it, and ways to promote its growth, from a variety of perspectives.

Responsible Property Investing and Property Management: Exploring the Impacts of Good Labor Practices on Property Performance (read here)
January 2009
Investors and property managers have started to implement responsible contractor policies (RCPs) in order to respond to labor challenges in the industry, including subcontracting, low wages and benefits, unstable working hours, and poor working conditions. This paper explores the impact of fair labor practices on property performance, and assesses the applicability of RCPs in the Canadian property industry by exploring the use of such policies by real estate investors and managers in the United States.

The Use of Non-Financial Information: What do Investors Want? (pdf)
March 2008
The importance of non-financial information for investment decision making has been much publicized of late, and is gaining prominence among mainstream, institutional investors. Using a survey of 750 retail investors and focus groups in two US cities, this paper attempts to find out “what retail investors want” from non-financial information.

Handbook on Responsible Investment across Asset Classes (pdf)
November 2007
Written for asset owners, money managers, consultants, and others seeking to institutionalize responsible investment principles across portfolios, the Handbook will help investors: incorporate responsible investment methods into their investment mandate; identify and evaluate opportunities for responsible investment, and; coordinate the vocabulary and metrics used to measure social and environmental outcomes. 

On the Frontiers of Finance – Investing in Sustainable SMEs in Emerging Markets (pdf)
September 2007
This piece is a discussion paper, originally submitted to the CASIN Geneva Private Capital Symposium, on the current approaches to investing in Sustainable SMEs in emerging markets. The paper provides an overview of the current landscape of sustainable SME finance and clarifies key challenges in order to provoke discussion among fund managers, investors, entrepreneurs, and the donor community.