Do your investments have superpowers?

It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s super…investing? That’s right. There’s a new way to invest money that not only performs well financially but also has the power to help protect the environment, build communities or spur ethical business practices on a global scale. It’s called impact investing.

The turbo boost…

Impact investing is what you might call the amped-up subset of responsible investing. Through capital investments and green bonds, along with conventional mutual funds and ETFs, impact investments seek out companies specifically trying to make a difference in the environment or society in measurable ways .

The real-world power

Impact investing is making a meaningful difference in areas including climate change, clean water, affordable housing and equal pay and equal pay, while at the same time supporting bottom-line results.
77.5 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions avoided. That’s like taking 16.6 million cars off the road.1
5.3 million megawatt-hours of energy saved in a single year. That’s like taking 590,000 homes off the grid.1
29.2 million more people getting access to clean water from wastewater projects worldwide.1
Nearly 1.6 million housing units built and renovated, providing many homes for low- and moderate-income residents.1
64,938 full-time jobs created in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities.1

Demand for impact investing is soaring

From 2013 to 2017, assets associated with impact investing grew to $228 billion from $46 billion.2 That demand has driven significant growth in impact investment offerings and opportunities. And the momentum behind impact investing may not slow down anytime soon. Why?
Demand for impact investing is soaring
Note: Reported assets under management reflect an increasing number of survey respondents.
Built-in transparency and accountability
Companies that fit within the impact investing category are often seen as values-driven, innovative organizations whose leaders embrace greater financial accountability and more transparency in their business practices. The openness may be attractive to investors because it can give them more insight into a company’s inner workings, stability and overall performance.
Responsible practices can help protect investors
As a subset of responsible investing, impact investing helps protect investors through deeper scrutiny. Just as adhering to ethical principles can help a company avoid issues, not adhering to them can cost companies, and their investors, dearly—through sanctions, lost revenue, security breaches, diminished value and bad publicity. Adopting responsible policies and practices can help protect a company’s reputation and bottom line, and also make it more attractive to investors.
Public policy increases opportunity
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, mobilizing policy changes in countries across the globe to end poverty, combat climate change and promote peace. As legislation increases, the funding and demand for companies that meet these goals are likely to increase.

Impact investing can make us all heroes

Impact investing is giving ordinary people extraordinary powers to change the world for the better. We may not have superpowers, but if our investments can help protect the planet, do good in our communities, and promote higher ethical standards for businesses, all while delivering strong financial returns, we can all feel a little more heroic.
Nuveen, the investment manager of TIAA, manages about $3.5 billion in bonds with proceeds dedicated to positive social and/or environmental impact.3 In private markets, we have 30 years of experience and more than $1.2 billion in capital commitments in impact investments.4 Learn more about impact investing here .
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