Social Impact Investing – Beyond Financial Returns
Jitesh Nair

Shoppers increasingly want meaning from their purchases. They want their individual purchase behaviors to have a direct positive impact on the world, rather than an indirect positive impact. The millennials have gone a step further and are changing the definition of brand engagement and consumer social impact. Social impact is not just about philanthropy, it is about a collaborative and multifaceted approach to addressing societal issues.

According to a study conducted by Morgan Stanley, 86% of millennials are interested in social impact investing and want their investments to reflect environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors. A 2019 report published by Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), states that the impact investing market grew from a few million to over $500 billion in a decade. It has become a mainstream way for investors to diversify their investment portfolio.

In such a scenario, the old world concept of corporate social responsibility as a marketing communications strategy is just not enough. Brands are increasingly expected to have a social and moral perspective. Brands like Patagonia and The Body Shop have been able to integrate a social cause into their business model. The same holds true for Warby Parker, TOMS, and United By Blue. Social impact products are able to mobilize their consumers to volunteer alongside the company for the cause. They also act as brand ambassadors for the cause and later on for the company’s products.

A similar strategy was followed by Me to We, a social enterprise selling lifestyle products, leadership training and travel experience to help fund its partner organization WE Charity.

In short, social impact products and impact investing are set to become key instruments for consumers and investors to help make the world a better place.

Read Also:
It’s Time Women Promoted Women-led Startups
Start-Ups Should Understand Their Ecosystem
Startups should have a Branding Plan in Place Early On
Employee Engagement Policies for Millennials Require a Different Approach
Workplace Stress: Managing Work Content and Work Context
Related Cases:
Warby Parker: Too Good to Sustain?
The `We Movement`– Driving Social Change
Patagonia’s Fight for Public Lands: Brand Activism or a Marketing Play?