Shami Nissan

The G7 impact investing taskforce is discussing a ‘just transition’ – limiting negative social impacts while reducing carbon emissions – Shami Nissan, a taskforce member and head of responsible investment at Actis, tells New Private Markets.

“Our conversation has been around how we can bring the social back into the equation,” says Nissan. “Because investing in renewables isn’t just a binarily good thing. There are decisions and trade-offs to be made. Solar panel plants need land. Whose land was that? What was its prior use? Is that more important than feeding populations?”

The taskforce is noteworthy because it brings together people from asset managers of different sizes, industry bodies, regulators and policymakers. Nissan is in Working Group B, which explores instruments and policies to scale impact investment. It has “had some meetings and some subsequent smaller group discussions”, she says. “A lot of the work is around gathering proof points and case studies [of impact investing into the just transition].”

Working Group B will produce a report that will include case studies of impact investing linked to the transition. These case studies will show how impact investors have made investment decisions, mapped impact pathways, chosen and developed forecast impact metrics, monitored impact and managed portfolio companies.

“I don’t think this is yet another initiative that’s going to produce reports that gather dust on a shelf,” says Nissan. This initiative is “catalysing discussions and reports that will reach high-level people in policymaking. Many other initiatives I’ve been involved in haven’t had that nexus of policymakers and investors”.

What happens to the report? Nissan says: “The chair of the taskforce, Nick Hurd, I presume will be leading those discussions and returning to the G7 as the forum which requested this taskforce. There is an opportunity for the G7 countries to act as a beacon on impact investing.”