Think tanks and impact investing: a guide for greater engagement

11 March 2021

How can think tanks play a role in contributing to solutions to address the challenges in the impact investing sector in emerging markets?

  • Consolidate, communicate and facilitate research into practice
  • Identify sector opportunities
  • Inform and connect policy and markets
  • Facilitate social impact evidence
  • Broker and facilitate

Overall, it is important to notice that the potential role that local think tanks could play in impact investing requires investments of time and resources, especially for think tanks to be ready to enter a space where until now they have been mostly absent. Recognising that there is stiff competition for financial resources in the sector, particularly among brokers and research actors, think tanks and impact investors will need to collaborate to assess the context and prioritise where think tanks can have the greatest impact at a national and regional level. Our study suggests that working to translate and disseminate knowledge on experiences/practices and related sectors, elevate the voice of stakeholders experiencing impact, connect the traditional financial sector actors (both public and private), generating evidence of impact and strong impact management practices, and facilitating ecosystem actors are critical areas for the development of the industry. By starting with the areas where think tanks have strengths and capacity focused on consolidating and translating knowledge and identifying sector opportunities, inform and connect policy and markets, think tanks can help strengthen the ecosystem in significant ways. As they gain experience and credibility, think tanks may expand their roles to include facilitating social impact evidence and taking on brokering and facilitation roles.

Find out more about our think tanks and impact investing initiative.