Investors are increasingly opting to go beyond ESG considerations to support positive change through impact investing. Impact investors connect the pursuit of risk-adjusted returns with the delivery of positive real-world outcomes, often connected to the UNs’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Preparing for our clients' future 



This paper highlights two real world client case studies in illiquid private equity and liquid global listed equity, and presents ways of getting onto the impact pathway.


Applying an impact lens


Impact investing offers a chance to make a real difference to SDGs within a $12 trillion global growth opportunity investment universe1.


Applying an impact lens can help identify opportunities overlooked by a sustainability-themed approach. Impact investing targets underserved areas of the global economy, such as meeting the needs of the “bottom billion” or critical global problems such as climate change. Each SDG provides a range of impact investment targets; for example, climate action could motivate allocations to renewable energy or green buildings.

Will you be raising your impact ambition soon?
Listen to a short video from the 2021 Global Investment Forum as Deb Wardle, UK Alternatives Investment Director, explains how big the impact investment opportunity is and what's at stake to potentially deliver positive real world outcomes.

Key elements of impact investing


  1. Intentionality: contributing to positive social or environmental outcomes
  2. Measurability: the intended social or environmental impact needs to be measured and reported on clearly and reliably
  3. Additionality: pursue social or environmental benefits that would not have otherwise occurred without the investment.



How to implement impact investing

Investors typically approach an impact investment allocation with three key issues in mind: 1) intention and themes to target; 2) portfolio allocation and implementation options; 3) how outcomes will be measured and reported to different stakeholders. There are many ways that themes or topics can be identified and prioritized by investors. We have identified those that we believe are key from an impact investment perspective, in both environmental and social categories.

For some investors, a diverse range of themes will be their preference, while others will only want to target specific themes important to them. Not all impact themes lend themselves to simple categorization — water is a good example, as it could easily sit under either an environmental or social heading. While we are making the investment case for these allocations, many investors and their stakeholders will also place an intrinsic moral value on contributing positively to society and the environment.

Investor podcast

Critical thinking, critical issues


Hear about the latest market themes, new ideas, opportunities and what’s shaping the future of asset management in our investor podcast series.


Learn more

Investor blog

Yield point


Our specialists provide their point of view on the latest investor themes and market movements in our investor blog series.


Learn more


Strategic research

MercerInsight® Community


MercerInsight® Community offers free personalized, curated content to help you make informed decisions about your investments.


Learn more


Manager research

MercerInsight®, an alliance with eVestment


MercerInsight, an alliance with eVestment, is a powerful digital platform designed to help sophisticated investors make better-informed decisions. 


Learn more


1. Better Business Better World; The report of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission; 2017

Download the raising your impact ambition paper