Demographic shifts, climate change, food security and other emerging global trends present both risks and opportunities for investors to explore new markets and sectors—and to generate financial returns. Financing the Sustainable Development Goals alone requires trillions of dollars from both the public and private sectors. Unlocking more capital from the mainstream investment community can help strengthen the global economy while producing long-term value for investors.  

This report presents BSR’s holistic framing of “social finance,” or any investment activity that generates financial returns and considers social and environmental impact, including environmental finance, development finance, impact investing, and socially responsible investing. It also introduces the five conditions needed to galvanize private capital toward advancing social and environmental goals: accessibility, measurement, transparency, collaboration, and systemic change. Our goal through this research is to facilitate greater involvement from mainstream investors across the social finance spectrum to address the world’s most pressing challenges.  

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