More than $23 trillion assets globally are subject to a non-traditional (environmental, social, and governance and impact screen), including over 25% of all professionally managed assets. This approach is growing, for example, in 2018, Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset management firm, Black Rock, wrote in a public letter: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

This statement reflects an increasingly broad-based sentiment that asset owners should include ESG and impact criteria in their investment process. Most large asset managers (e.g., Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, TPG, Blackrock, State Street) are establishing sustainability, “ESG” or impact investment practices, and developing products to meet the demands of capital owners, including pension funds, endowments, and family offices.

Through teaching, research and engagement with practitioners and alumni, we are critically examining questions such as: What is the purpose of investing for impact? What return profiles are realistic? How do different strategies actually create social value? How is and how should social value be defined and measured? What does it mean in practice to be an impact investor?

An active community of faculty are teaching on and researching these topics from various perspectives, including Shawn Cole, Vikram Gandhi, Michael Chu, Kash Rangan, George Serafeim, Julie Battilana, and others. As importantly, our alumni are shaping, accelerating and leading investing for impact across the globe– from BlackRock, to Root Capital, to Social Finance, to Omidyar Network to Wellington Asset Management.



The Impact CoLaboratory (Impact CoLab) is a multi-faculty effort to advance knowledge and practice in the rapidly growing field of investing for impact and scaling for impact.


Featured Research

  • January 2018
  • Case | HBS Case Collection

Acumen: Managing Towards Impact in 2018

  • April 2018
  • Case | HBS Case Collection

Background Note: Managing and Measuring Impact

by Shawn Cole, Vikram S. Gandhi, and Caitlin Reimers Brumme
  • February 2018
  • Case

Blue Haven Initiative

  • April 2018

Goldman Sachs: Making and Imprint in Impact Investing

by Shawn Cole, Vikram S. Gandhi, Caitlin Reimers Brumme and Lynn Schenk
  • February 2018

OpenInvest: Democratizing Impact Investing

by Shawn Cole, Boris Vallée and Nicole Tempest Keller
  • February 2018

Root Capital and the Efficient Impact Frontier

by Shawn Cole and Caitlin Reimers Brumme
  • March 2017
  • Case

SKS Microfinance (Abridged)

by Shawn Cole and Theresa Chen
  • January 2017
  • Case | HBS Case Collection

Vox Capital: Pioneering Impact Investing in Brazil

by Julie Battilana, Marissa Kimsey, Falko Paetzold and Priscilla Zogbi
  • February 2018
  • Case

Wellington Global Impact

  • Feb 2017
  • Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series

Why and How Investors Use ESG Information: Evidence from a Global Survey

by Amir Amel-Zadeh and George Serafeim

Additional Research

  • November 2016
  • Accounting Review Article

Corporate Sustainability: First Evidence on Materiality

by Mozaffar Khan, George Serafeim and Aaron Yoon
  • September 2016
  • Case | HBS Case Collection

Pi Investments

by Vikram Gandhi and Tony L. He
  • April 2016
  • Case | HBS Case Collection

Dan Gilbert, Crazy or Crazy Like a Fox?

  • Jun 2013
  • Harvard Business Publishing

Venture Philanthropy: Its Evolution & Its Future

by Allen S. Grossman, Sarah Appleby & Caitlin Reimers
Subjects covered include: nonprofit organizations and philanthropies.
  • March 2016
  • Technical Note | HBS Case Collection

ESG Metrics: Reshaping Capitalism

by George Serafeim and Jody Grewal
  • November 1 2015
  • Standford Social Innovation Review

The Payoff of Pay-for-Success

  • Jan 2013
  • Harvard Business Review Blog

Social Impact Investing Will Be the New Venture Capital

by Sir Ronald Cohen & William A. Sahlman

Additional Sources

  • June 2018
  • Global Impact Investing Network

GIIN Impact Investing Report

by Abhilash Mudaliar, Rachel Bass, Hannah Dithrich
  • December 17, 2017
  • Harvard Business Review

Can Index Funds be a force for Sustainable capitalism

  • April 2017
  • World Forum

Nice People Doing Bad Deals? Bono creates controversy (video)

by Jeff Skoll & Bono
  • January 17, 2013
  • Harvard Business Review

Social Impact Investing Will Be the New Venture Capital

by Sir Ronald Cohen and William A. Sahlman
  • 2018
  • Blackrock

Letter to Shareholders

by Larry Fink
  • June 2017
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review

Down the Rabbit Hole? Impact Investing and Large Foundations

by Larry Kramer
  • Fall 2015
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Payoff of Pay-for-Success

by V. Kasturi Rangan and Lisa Chase