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Mark Malloch-Brown, Co-chair, Business and Sustainable Development Commission

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Please give us a bit of background on yourself, and how your organisation plays a leadership role in the impact investing space. 

I chair the Commission on Business and Sustainable Development, a group of 35 CEOs and civil society leaders seeking to make the case of how business solutions can be applied to some of the world’s most intractable Development problems. Previously I was a number two at the UN and former head of the UN Development Programme and UK Minister. 
How well are companies adapting to the mainstreaming of purpose-driven finance? 

Purpose driven finance, and indeed impact investing will remain in niche sectors as long as they are posed as “less profitable.” When a bottom-line reflects environmental and social costs, employee and other stakeholder satisfaction, as well as healthy profitability, these concepts will become mainstream.

How has impact and ESG-oriented investing evolved in recent years and what is its biggest challenge?

Impact and ESG investing has attracted growing attention because it reflects emerging ideas about how investors can make a difference and contribute to society. The challenge is now to mainstream it as “successful” in traditional P&L terms.

What will you be discussing at The Economist's Impact Investing event in London on June 15th?

I will be discussing how development is ready for the application of business solutions – capital, innovation, efficiency, disruption and profitability. But also how business must accept the obligations – or social contract – that imposes to meet standards, such as tax, transparency, environmental impact, or wage rates in the supply chain.

To learn more about the Impact Investing event, click here.

To register for the event, click here.