The shift to impact is picking up momentum. Consumers are demanding products and services that are better for the environment and that actively seek to address the social challenges the world faces. As a result, they and the investment institutions they support – pension funds, insurers, and even public entities – are channeling more capital into impact investment. In 2022, the worldwide impact market reached $1.16 trillion, exceeding $1 trillion for the first time, according to the Global Impact Investing Network. This is good news for people and the planet.
Impact investing is founded on the intention to deliver positive environmental and societal benefits alongside a financial return. In 2022, we achieved B Corporation status, joining an elite group of some 6,500 companies worldwide that have a clear focus redefining the role of business to be a force for good. It is a globally recognised stamp of approval that lends even more credibility to our name and is a natural progression of our French Mission Company status, achieved in 2019. Proud as we are, B Corp recognition is not our final goal. Rather, our aim is investing to create infrastructure that makes a meaningful difference to people’s lives and the planet we all inhabit. We are on the right track, but there is still more that we can and want to do.
Beyond labels and intention, impact needs a clear strategy and investment infrastructure to really hit its mark. Today, we are striving to further professionnalise impact by aligning our investment ever more closely with our Five Pillars* and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), and by creating impact tools, processes and methodologies. For instance, our impact measurement tool Simpl. provides a dashboard to monitor our performance on specific targets for each asset, and is backed by quantitative measures relating to each of the SDGs. Where methodologies do not exist, we build them, such as the Ciara toolkit for taking the temperature of our assets, which was able to measure the alignment of our portfolio with the 2°C target enshrined in the Paris Agreement for the first time in 2022. As a forerunner for impact in infrastructure, our tools and methodologies can help others in the industry measure and improve their own performances.
This year’s Impact Report outlines the ambitious targets we continue to set for our firm, including our commitment to become carbon neutral across all our assets by 2050 under our membership of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. It not only shows how our strategy is evolving, but also the impact our investment is having – and will have – for example in tonnes of CO2 avoided, jobs created, or opportunities for women and young people.
Real world impact requires significant investment. Throughout the course of 2022, we invested more than $4 billion overall and more than $1.5 billion in fibre projects that will drive digital equity for underserved and disadvantaged communities, breaking down social divides. New projects can limit their climate effects from Day 1, but we – like most in the infrastructure industry – own assets that can be made more sustainable. For that reason, we implemented action plans to do more and go beyond on climate action in particular, transforming our older portfolio and assets created from 2006 onwards and reducing their emissions.
Impact is not a destination, it is a journey. We have our guiding Mission and ambitious goals. These are matched by strong commitments, as well as by the tools and resources to really measure the impact we – and our infrastructure assets – are having on people and the planet.