What are intentions?
Our intentions express a commitment to act in a certain way. They are derived from our values and motivations and inform our impact and financial goals.
Values: One’s judgement of what is important; principles or standards of behavior.
Motivation for impact: A motivating force, stimulus or influence
Impact intention: A determination to act in a certain way
Impact goals: The end towards which effort is directed
Intentions can range from broad commitments – “I want to avoid harm” or “I want to mitigate risk” or “I want to have a positive effect on the world” – to more detailed objectives – “I want to support a speciﬁc group of people, place, outcome” or “I want to address a specific social or environmental challenge”.
There are a range of intentions for managing impact, which can be loosely grouped into four broad types. Each type relates to different performance across the five dimensions.
Don’t miss the investor-specific section of Goals to see how different types of intention translate into the goals of investments.
Since intentions guide our goals – and managing impact often means re-setting our goals based on what we learn – sharing our intentions with those we work with fosters trust that we will make the same decisions when it comes to re-setting goals based on what we learn. The decision about whether to share our intentions is ultimately an individual choice for us to make as a customer, enterprise, intermediary or asset owner. Regardless of whether we share our intentions, we do need to share and align our goals.
How do my constraints affect my goals?
Regardless of our intentions, our choices are often limited by certain constraints, including legal requirements, the type of organisation we are, our level of wealth or profitability, our location and our demographics.
What does this mean for investors?
Investors’ intentions and constraints don’t just affect their choice of underlying businesses to invest in, they also guide how investors themselves can contribute to a business’s ability to be impactful. The diagram below shows how intentions and constraints translate into different strategies that investors use to contribute to impact. For a re-cap of these different strategies, return to the section on Contribution.
RS Group’s Impact Report 2016
A perspective on values-driven investment, highlighting how intentions can drive goal-setting but direct experience drives impact management.
The Investment Integration Project (TIIP): Tipping Points 2016
10 tools of intentionality to help investors think through why and how they want to incorporate impact goals into their investment portfolio.
TONIIC: Insights from the frontier of impact investing 2016
This study of aggregated portfolios of more than 50 investors explores their motivations and intentions for investing with impact.
Browse our reports, case studies, and perspectives
to see impact management in action
Insights from BMO: Reporting on the impact of listed equitiesJuly 17, 2018 Learn More
New Huddles Series: Impact Management in ActionApril 27, 2018 Learn More
New findings from the GIIN Investors’ Council pilotApril 25, 2018 Learn More
What organizational conditions support continuous improvement?February 7, 2018 Learn More
Investor’s Perspective (PGGM): Mapping a portfolio by its effects on people and planetJanuary 9, 2018 Learn More
Phase 2: From Theory to PracticeJanuary 8, 2018 Learn More