Deetken Impact attended the 2018 Responsible Investment Association (RIA) Conference in Toronto in full force. In addition to a couple of members from our team, we were joined by our strategic partners for women entrepreneurship and sustainable energy, Pro Mujer International and the Caribbean Basin Energy Fund (CABEF) respectively. And together with another one of our partners, Oikocredit, we shared a booth and had the opportunity to interact with family offices, foundations, and other private and public sector investors.
Challenges for responsible impact investment products
Deetken Impact also participated in two different impact investing panels. The first panel, which was very popular, dealt with the challenges faced in bringing impact investment products to market in Canada. Alexa Blain, Deetken Impact’s COO, went straight to the point, highlighting that “it is more difficult to bring conservatively-run private impact products to market than high risk, mining or oil and gas penny stocks”. However, it is worth mentioning that among Canadian credit unions, both Vancity and Kindred have found ways to continue to deploy funds with impact investments in Canada. As investors become more interested and demand financial products that deliver both financial returns and measurable positive social and environmental impact, panelists agree that such products will finally become more available to Canadian retail investors.
The second panel in which we participated was “Impact Measurement and Scoring in Fixed Income”. Among other ideas, Deetken Impact led the discussion on the types of impact parameters that are measured for fixed income investments in emerging countries. A notable example was the number of families that had access for the first time to drinking water, sewage and electricity in affordable housing projects. There were lively discussions regarding the adoption of the SDGs as a global framework for measuring impact. The audience was very engaged in the discussion of improving impact measurement in accordance with Canadian values of economic development, quality healthcare, and affordable finance.
As more organizations and businesses join the responsible investment movement, discussions and networking with individuals and organizations who share common objectives, like the ones taking place at RIA, will continue to strengthen the ecosystem. Deetken Impact looks forward to next year’s RIA conference in Montreal.