Before delving into a specific industry segment, it is worth scanning the websites of the most significant industry bodies below. These associations publish important and insightful research such as the GIIN Impact Investor Survey, The PRI Impact Investing Market Map and much more.

Whilst this list aims to introduce the main names in the space that will come up regularly in conversation, it is not exhaustive. However if you spend a little time getting to know their relevance you’ll be much more prepared when diving into a specific industry segment.

Main Industry Associations

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)
The world’s main impact investing association, the GIIN builds critical infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research to help accelerate the development of a coherent impact investing industry. Responsible for creating IRIS, the most commonly used impact metrics and the organiser of the industry’s largest conference, it’s worth taking plenty of time exploring all the research available on the GIIN’s website.

Principles For Responsible Investment (PRI)
In partnership with the UN this independent organisation that aims to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. Funded primarily via an annual membership fee in addition to grants from governments, foundations and other international organisations.

The European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA)
A network of venture philanthropy organisations committed to practising and promoting high-engagement grant making and social investment in Europe. The network’s members include venture philanthropy funds, grant-making foundations, private equity firms, professional service firms, philanthropy advisors and business schools. Currently the association has over 210 members from 29 countries with three strategic objectives: increase funding and expertise coming into the Venture Philanthropy and Social Investment space; increase the effectiveness of Venture Philanthropists and Social Investors and co-create a well-functioning ecosystem for societal impact.

Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG)
An independent global steering group established in 2015 to catalyse impact investment and entrepreneurship to benefit people and planet. The GSG currently has 21 countries plus the EU as members bringing together leaders from the worlds of finance, business, and philanthropy. By 2020 it aims to have 30 countries with a vibrant impact investment ecosystem, a $300B market size (up from $150B in 2017) and 1 an improvement in the planet and 1 billion poor lives.

Acumen seeks out the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs whose game-changing innovations are disrupting poverty. We invest patient capital in them, providing the flexibility and security to grow their businesses and reach as many poor customers as possible. We also equip them with the tools, networks, technical assistance and strategic guidance needed to succeed and scale into long-term solutions to poverty.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
The lead UN development agency responsible for the founding of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.

UN Global Compact
An initiative based on voluntary CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. The organisation works with offices throughout the UN to build capacity to work better with the private sector.

United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
A partnership between United Nations Environment and the global financial sector created in the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit with a mission to promote sustainable finance. More than 200 financial institutions, including banks, insurers, and investors, work with UN Environment to understand today’s environmental, social and governance challenges, why they matter to finance, and how to actively participate in addressing them.

Other Associations

European Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES)
A consultative multi-stakeholder group established to examine the progress of the EC’s social business measures. Made up of representatives of the Member States, local authorities, social entrepreneurs, the banking and finance sector and the academic and university sector.

Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance (CCEG)
A Think Tank who aims to promote a currency of non-financial value, to achieve parity with financial currency, and thereby articulate total value.

Share Action
A charity that has spent the last 12 years building the movement for responsible investment. We’re now taking the movement worldwide, to transform the investment system and unlock its potential to be a force for good.

Omidyar Network
Invests in entrepreneurs who share our commitment to advancing social good at the pace and scale the world needs today.

Skoll Foundation
Drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators solving the world’s most pressing problems.

Impact Management Project
A network of leading organisations working together to mainstream impact measurement and management.

Net Impact
Through over 350 chapters world wide, Net Impact mobilises next-generation leaders to use their skills and careers for positive impact.