Capital with purpose – impact investing in listed equities

Capital with purpose – impact investing in listed equities

Faced with complex global issues like climate change the definition of impact investing needs to expand.  Our Global ESG Equities Team argue the case for making a positive difference through investment in public equities. 

Capital with purpose

Impact investing isn’t new, but it is not a concept that has historically been associated with investment in public equities.  Why?  Because there has been a preconception that it’s challenging to attribute positive impact to ‘non ringfenced’ capital invested via a public market.  This view is beginning to shift, and we’d argue that it needs to change if we’re to meet the significant challenges our world faces.

Capital needs to be mobilised en masse

Complex global issues like climate change require multiple stakeholders to mobilise with governments, companies, individuals, and investors all having a role to play.   The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a roadmap to get the world on a more sustainable footing but their ambition and scope dictates that the definition of ‘impact investing’ needs to expand.  There’s an estimated $2.5 trillion funding gap required to achieve the SDGs* – listed equities have the scale and reach to play a big role in plugging the shortfall.

Active ownership can drive meaningful impact

We have a long heritage in active ownership and believe that through engagement, we can make a positive difference.  Indeed, over the years we have recorded numerous instances of positive change by utilising all the tools in our arsenal, from proactively conducting dialogue with management to exercising our voting rights or escalating via shareholder proposals.


As active equity investors targeting positive impact, it is important to operate with clear intent and within a robust and holistic framework.  In doing so it is possible to harness the power of the capital we manage on behalf of our clients to precipitate and/or accelerate the pace of change. 

Interested in learning more? In ‘Capital with purpose – Impact investing in listed equities’

We explore impact investing’s application within listed equities, the power of engagement and our approach that emphasises intentionality, engageability, contribution and measurability.


The views and approach outlined in this document apply only to funds and strategies with an explicit mandate to deliver ESG impact as well as positive investment performance which are managed by our Global ESG Equities Team operating through Columbia Threadneedle Management Limited. The team are now part of Columbia Threadneedle Investments which is the asset management business of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

14 september 2022
Sacha El Khoury
Sacha El Khoury
Director, Portfolio Manager
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Capital with purpose – impact investing in listed equities

Important information

For professional investors

For marketing purposes. Your capital is at risk. Columbia Threadneedle Investments is the global brand name of the Columbia and Threadneedle group of companies. Not all services, products and strategies are offered by all entities of the group. Awards or ratings may not apply to all entities of the group. This material should not be considered as an offer, solicitation, advice, or an investment recommendation. This communication is valid at the date of publication and may be subject to change without notice. Information from external sources is considered reliable but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. In the UK: Issued by Threadneedle Asset Management Limited, No. 573204 and/or Columbia Threadneedle Management Limited, No. 517895, both registered in England and Wales and authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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