ABN AMRO has decided to start investing in social and sustainable enterprises. ABN AMRO’s Manager Social Impact Investment Eric Buckens explains: “The bank has set aside capital in a separate ‘Social Impact Fund’. Through direct participating interests, it will invest in enterprises with social objectives. As a financial services provider, we have influence - we can make a difference.”
In this pilot stage, the sole investor in the Social Impact Fund is ABN AMRO itself, but plans are to eventually open up the fund to ABN AMRO’s clients as well.
An active contribution
With this fund, ABN AMRO wants not only to be a player in the young and innovative market for social entrepreneurs, but also to contribute to its development. For the coming years a budget of €10 million is available for investments, varying from €250,000 to €1.5 million. Buckens is in charge of the Social Impact Fund. “The fund, which focuses on Dutch social business activities, is joining forces with similar organisations in the market. With them we want to nurture the growth of this market as effectively as possible.”
Measurable social impact
ABN AMRO has added an important criterion to the requirements of the fund: the enterprise must have an innovative and scalable business model, and bring something new to the market – in other words, : the enterprise needs a “theory of change”. The social impact should be measurable, just like the financial results.