The MaRS Discovery District’s Task Force on Social Finance today released its report providing a national strategy to mobilize private capital for public good in Canada. The report contains recommendations that call on institutional investors, corporations, philanthropists, foundations and governments to work together to build a robust impact investing marketplace in Canada.
Impact investing is defined as “proactively investing in businesses, organizations or funds that generate both a social or environmental and financial return.”
The Task Force was made up of nine corporate executives along with former Prime Minister Paul Martin. They recommended, in part:
- Strongly encouraging Canadian public and private foundations to invest at least 10% of their capital (totalling $34B) in mission-related investments (MRI) by 2020, potentially unlocking $3.4B for social enterprise.
- Establishing a federal partnership with private, institutional and philanthropic investors to create the Canada Impact Investment Fund.
- Increasing the engagement of Canadian pension funds in impact investing through clarification of fiduciary duty and annual disclosure of impact investing allocations.
“A growing number of enterprising charities, non-profits, co-operatives as well as social purpose businesses are turning to private investors for the financial support they need to launch new initiatives, and grow to make a bigger difference in their work,” said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District and Chair of the Task Force on Social Finance. “The barriers between profit and public purpose are breaking down — both here at home and around the world.”
The report goes on to say that while Canada's impact investing marketplace is relatively young, many of the critical elements are already in place to make this marketplace work: a new breed of investor who wants to earn money while making a positive impact on society, foundations looking for ways to invest endowment assets in mission-related opportunities and governments willing to look at innovative ways to spawn private investment for social good.
You can read the Task Force’s report here.