Why Are Some Countries so far Ahead in Social Impact Investing?

> Posted by Julie Shea
As investors increasingly seek out social impact investing opportunities, microfinance continues to present an attractive opportunity for achieving double bottom line goals.
However, some countries are way ahead of the pack in terms of their social impact investing efforts. Investing in microfinance has gained particular traction in certain European countries, specifically the Netherlands and Switzerland, while investors in the US and UK have been less responsive to microfinance investment opportunities.
One example of social investing in microfinance coming out of the Netherlands is the Dutch Triodos Bank, which as of December 2009 had 236 million euros under management in its four microfinance funds.
This summer, the Center for Financial Inclusion is teaming up with a group of virtual Credit Suisse volunteers to find out why countries such as the Netherlands and Switzerland are so far ahead.  Our team of volunteers will be researching how differences in the legal and tax frameworks of these four countries have led to different outcomes in terms of social investing.
The project is one of the first initiatives within the recently launched Virtual Volunteering Program for Microfinance. Through the program, volunteers from Credit Suisse will collaborate with the Center on a variety of projects within the field of microfinance.
Results and key findings from the cross country comparison will be presented at the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds (CMEF) meeting in Costa Rica on October 13-14.
Image credit: Tango Desktop Project
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