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.


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