Impact fund to invest in women and girls

Marion Rae
(Australian Associated Press)

 

A women and girls fund launched on Wednesday by Australian investment organisation Global Impact Initiative already has more than $300 million in commitments.

The Global Gender Equality Fund is the world’s first, actively managed, impact investment fund focused on women and girls, according to GII’s founder and chief executive Giles Gunesekera.

“The advantage of a fund such as this is that the bigger it gets, the more social impact we can create,” he said.

The body has five investment areas – gender equality, Indigenous communities, health, affordable housing and climate.

One of the sometimes missing parts of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) for investors, the fund will back companies that encourage gender equality in boards, workforce recruitment, management processes, and remuneration.

Reserve Bank of Australia board member and Equity Trustees chair Carol Schwartz said having gender equality around decision making tables and integrated throughout an organisation is absolutely crucial to ensuring it is a high performing business.

“A growing cohort of investors are recognising this,” she said.

Investors can pocket the new fund’s returns or donate them to specific charities that work with women and girls.

The five charities chosen as recipients are the Malala Fund, UN Women, UNICEF, World Vision and Bangladesh-based microfinance organisation Grameen.

There is $100 billion of potential demand from Australian investors for impact investment products over the next five years, according to a report by Responsible Investing Association Australasia.

Most of the $20 billion currently in impact investments in Australia targets the environment.

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