A Creativity Lens: Impact investing in the creative economy

October 19, 2017

Impact investing—investing in companies, real estate and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return—is a fast-developing area of interest for investors and philanthropists.

But while the range of impact investing opportunities has increased substantially in recent years, the field has yet to focus on the creative economy in a significant, targeted way. The Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) 2015 Annual Impact Investor Survey reported that Arts and Culture accounted for less than 1% of the $60 billion worth of impact assets under management by its global members. Most other assessments of impact investing activity don’t mention art, design, media, entertainment or culture at all. Ethical fashion is categorized as manufacturing.  Healthy, sustainable food brands are categorized with agriculture. The common link to the creative economy has been overlooked.

Upstart Co-Lab, an RPA Sponsored Project, is trying to change that. Upstart’s new position paper, “A Creativity Lens: Impact investing in the creative economy,” frames the case and shares early examples of how investors can target their capital to the creative economy. The research outlines three reasons why impact investors may want to consider investing in the creative economy for financial and social impact: to gain portfolio diversification; as a new way to achieve social return related to key priorities like climate change and community development; and to harness the projected growth of the creative economy to build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable future.

Read the full paper at upstartco-lab.org/creativity-lens.