Child-lens impact investing is here

Calvert Impact Capital has begun to refocus its impact efforts on helping children by surveying its portfolio companies.

Some investors are now refocusing their impact strategies to prioritise the effect their investments are having on the lives of children.

Non-profit Calvert Impact Capital is one such investor. CEO Jennifer Pryce explained how it was integrating a child lens into its approach on a panel dedicated to the topic at the GIIN Impact Forum in Copenhagen earlier today.

Calvert is one of just nine investors to make BlueMark’s “Practice Leaderboard” – its list of impact investors that score in the top quartile for alignment with the Operating Principles for Impact Management. ResponsAbility Investments and Enterprise Community Partners are among the GPs it has backed.

To apply the child lens in practice, Calvert surveyed its 100+ portfolio companies to understand the impact they are having on children. The firm created questions for its portfolio companies, said Pryce, “to begin to see where there was that impact data where they were impacting the lives of children. So for example, with health we asked: how many children were able to gain access to clean and healthy water?”

Responses to the questions were varied, with some portfolio companies saying that they “don’t know where to start”. However, others were primed to engage and already armed with information to share.

“What surprised us is they came back thrilled,” Pryce said in reference to one portfolio company in the affordable housing sector. “[They said] ‘We’ve been working with children the whole time and no one ever asked’.”

Pryce was keen to point out that, though an early mover in this area, Calvert had not fully fleshed out how a child-centric approach will work in practice.

“We are still baking this cake,” she emphasised.

Further reading:

  • Unicef unveiled its Child-lens Investing Framework last week. Find it here.