The best investors in the world see around corners – they see a trend. Rehana Nathoo, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Impact, is betting the future will be assessed holistically driven by the fundamental tenets of impact investing.
For more than a decade, Rehana has been leading efforts to build the impact ecosystem, bringing an authentic and remarkably broad-based understanding of how to use the tools of finance to drive the changes we need to see in our planet and the fabric of our society. As veteran of some of the seminal institutions in impact investing including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Case Foundation as well as Bank of New York Mellon, Rehana’s impact journey began on the ground in Uganda and Tanzania working with the United Nations to implement a multi-nation project finance program to develop the private sector.
But when it came to scaling the impact sector, Rehana realized that many of these important efforts contained big blind spots that were holding impact back. Some were simply too small and episodic. Or, too often the theory behind these innovations translated poorly when it came to execution because these projects lacked buy-in from the C-suite decision-makers.
What’s more, Rehana saw early on the dangers of greenwashing. Without transparency and data, it was too easy for a company to back their way into an impact strategy and rely on a clever marketing department to try to fill in the gaps.
But impact isn’t a side show. It’s the show. And for impact to do more, we had to find new ways to widen the tent to facilitate more capital flows into the sector.
That’s where Spectrum Impact comes into play.
Her Game Changing Idea:
Impact investing takes as its starting point that impact values matter. But Spectrum Impact, an impact investing consultancy, recognizes that for many traditional businesses, their starting point is simply doing what is best for the business. Spectrum Impact’s big idea was to close this gap by translating impact precepts into the language of business.
For example, risk is a lens that every business and asset management team uses to evaluate opportunities. We can now prove – using the latest data and measurement tools – that many sustainable investing practices are simply good business.
Take the current pandemic. One of the silver linings of COVID is a much more widely held appreciation for climate risk, which is emboldened by better data about performance and risk mitigation. As for gender diversity, while the data isn’t quite as far along yet, investors are increasingly recognizing that they are missing out on some of today’s greatest innovations simply because of who’s presenting them. That’s powerful.
Spectrum Impact makes it easier for companies to integrate an impact agenda – sustainably and at scale. They create programs and platforms that maximize a company’s impact, meet their financial expectations, and work towards scale.
Why Her Work Matters:
For impact to grow and scale it has to be fully integrated into an organization – its decision-making processes and operations. That’s the starting point for Spectrum Impact. And to widen the tent, the impact sector needs to do a better job of meeting asset managers and companies where they are at on their own pathways to impact – with a values-neutral conversation.
By working with companies to examine how they can integrate sustainable practices into their business as a function of risk rather than values, Spectrum Impact is helping to accelerate the achievement of the long-sought objectives of our impact pioneers – the mainstreaming and scaling of impact investing.
Now that’s game changing.