By: Jo Reynolds, Social Innovation Specialist at Social Innovation Canada
Peru gathers momentum to launch a National Advisory Board on Impact Investing – Offering a vision of how finance and investment can demonstrate value for people and the planet.
In 2019, a dedicated group of leaders formed the Taskforce on Impact Investing in Peru to gauge interest and align efforts to build a more sustainable Peruvian economy. The Taskforce includes leadership from COFIDE (Peru’s public sector development bank), Impacto Consulting, Alive Ventures, KILLA, and WUSC/ FSSP Cooperación Canadiense, which is a Canadian non-profit organization working to create a better world for all young people. The group has spent the last two years engaging with and listening to the needs and ideas of investors, entrepreneurs, development organizations, innovators, and government agencies who have expressed a clear desire to build opportunities for impact investment and to align efforts in Peru.
The Taskforce is now preparing to join 33 other countries who have established National Advisory Boards through the Global Steering Group for Impact Investing (GSG). Canada has been playing a key role in supporting these efforts. Given the strong reputation and position of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in Peru, GAC can act as a neutral convenor and has engaged Canadian expertise to provide technical assistance to support the start-up and initial operations of the National Advisory Board. Such expertise include the SVX, Canada’s leading impact investing platform, who has been working closely with the Peruvian ecosystem to map more than 180 key stakeholders and provide insights into the potential for impact investing to become an established practice. You can read more about the SVX’s work in Peru through their Medium blogs.
This May, SI Canada joined in to support efforts through the Technical Assistance Program – Expert Development Mechanism funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Alinea International. The team at SI Canada brings deep sector expertise in the field of impact investing and in supporting organizations and coalitions to design their approach in the areas of governance, strategic and organizational development and we are honoured to be part of the team working in Peru over the next year.
Our work began at the start of June when I had the opportunity to travel to Lima to meet with a range of investors and people fostering the field of social and environmental entrepreneurship. Highlights included a joint presentation with Mariella Bella of WUSC and Juan Crespo of COFIDE to the COFIDE staff, President and CEO about the potential for an Impact Investing National Advisory Board in Peru. I especially enjoyed travelling to meet the people who are making a difference with their investments within their organizations. I met with team members from NESsT, KUNAN, Salkantay Partners, Banca de Inversión Sostenible, Triple Jump, Mosaico, USAID and others involved in the development of impact investing in Peru such as the hardworking teams from the Ministry of Environment and GIZ Peru – BioInvest Program who have been tracking and supporting biodiversity businesses that have potential for impact investment across the Amazon regions of Peru.
There are many similarities that I recognized in this field-building work that Canada encountered when Impact Investing began to take root more broadly; In particular, the need to connect disparate efforts across regions and sectors. When I began working to establish a broader impact investing ecosystem in Canada first with Social Innovation Generation and later with the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing at the MaRS Discovery District, I learned the value of being an honest broker who can act as the connective tissue supporting partnerships, knowledge exchange and information flows, and creating common understandings of the barriers and opportunities. A National Advisory Board, like the GSG, acts as that hub – providing the backbone support to initiating new capital flows that fit demand and provide a measured understanding of how social and environmental impacts are taking place. Another important role of a National Advisory Board is to help different parts of the field to see each other so that efforts can align and create added value. This helps to facilitate more efficient market conditions that align for improved social and environmental impact.
There is tremendous potential for Peru, and the Andean Region as a whole, to use finance and investment as a force for good. A good way to begin is increasing the adoption and application of impact measurement management, allowing investors, entrepreneurs, government, community members and other stakeholders to improve social and climate outcomes, and improve how these benefits are scaled towards achieving outcomes such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
At SI Canada, our team responds to expressed interest and where momentum exists by supporting networked efforts to launch or grow an initiative or an approach that aims to shift our social systems towards achieving equity and resilience in our communities and with nature. We do this by connecting people, exchanging knowledge and building skill sets that bolster capacity and address barriers to potential.
Over the coming months, the Taskforce will be focused on its application to the Global Steering Group by developing its strategic plan, governance and securing resources for a National Advisory Board on Impact Investing in Peru.
I look forward to providing updates on our work with the team in Peru as we lean into the potential and bring about a collective effort that will have a long-lasting impact.