Impact Investing

What is impact investing?

Impact investing refers to the act of making investments into companies, organizations and funds with the intent to create measurable social and environmental impact alongside financial returns. It offers new possibilities to tackle problems in both developed and developing country contexts and is an important tool to add to the toolkit of both investors and philanthropists.

Impact investing is a dynamic and growing field where innovation is enabling more capital to flow to ventures creating impact in an entrepreneurial and sustainable way. Our goal is to support the growth of this field through research and collaborative initiatives to the increase of impact investing activity by Canadian investors, resulting in more social ventures successfully growing and achieving sustainability in Canada and globally.


Impact investing has emerged over the past decade as one of the most talked about new strategies for tackling social and environmental problems. With the goal of creating measurable impact in addition to financial returns, impact investing typically supports ventures that are working towards positive social or environmental outcomes.

The Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing at the Sauder School of Business at UBC is the lead entity for social innovation and social enterprise on campus. Based on the success of the e@UBC Seed Fund, which provides funding for early-stage ventures at UBC, we are eager to expand the University’s investment capabilities and develop a new source of capital support that meets the unique needs of social ventures.

Below are several reports useful for understanding impact investing


Demystifying Impact Investing

Impact investing has emerged over the last decade as one of the most talked about new strategies for tackling social and environmental problems. The emergence of the concept has been accompanied by a great deal of hype and a confusing array of competing definitions of impact investing.

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Investing in Affordable Housing: BC, Canada, and the World

Housing—one of the basic needs in a society—has become an increasingly contentious issue as the gap between housing costs and incomes grows in cities around the world. Sauder S3i, at the University of British Columbia, is located in Vancouver—a city that is ranked the third least affordable city in the world.

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Impact Investing in the Indigenous Context

Indigenous issues remain at the forefront of Canadian policy, with many communities still lacking the necessary infrastructure and services related to water, education, economic development, and health. While these issues have traditionally been targeted by government, non-profits and charities, we believe that private investors can play a role as well.

Download the executive summary   Download the full report


Pacific Impact Investor Network (PIIN)

The Pacific Impact Investor Network (PIIN), now currently named The Impact Investment Forum (IIF), was created to take a network approach to overcoming barriers faced by individuals, family offices, and foundations in Canada who seek to actively engage in impact investing. PIIN provides members with support through each stage of the impact investment process. The members will be part of a collaborative network of like-minded individuals who will work together to increase capital investment in ventures creating positive social impact. SauderS3i provides technical and research support to the Pacific Impact Investor Network.


UBC Impact Fund

SauderS3i helped pilot a university-based impact investment fund. The fund invests in the highest impact ventures from the UBC community. The UBC Impact Fund is looking for ventures that explicitly aim to create impact through their business operations and pursue impact-maximizing strategies. It supports ventures where at least one of the founders, or key managers, is a current UBC student, faculty, staff member or recent alumni (within 3 years).


SauderS3i Internships

Sauder S3i offers Sauder MBA students summer internships focusing on sustainability and social engagement.

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