From the School Yard to the Conservation Area: Impact Investment across the Nature/Social Divide

Dan Cohen, Emily Rosenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the face of planetary crises, from inequality to biodiversity loss, “impact investing” has emerged as a vision for a new, “moral” financial system where investor dollars fund socio-environmental repair while simultaneously generating financial returns. In support of this system elite actors have formed a consensus that financial investments can have beneficial, more-than-financial outcomes aimed at solving social and environmental crises. Yet critical geographers have largely studied “green” and “social” finance separately. We propose, instead, a holistic geography of impact investing that highlights the common methods used in attempts to offset destructive investments with purportedly reparative ones. This involves interrogating how elite-led ideas of social and environmental progress are reflected in investments, as well as deconstructing the “objects” of impact investments. As examples, we use insights from both “green” and “social” literatures to analyse the social values embedded in projects of financialisation in schooling and affordable housing in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1285
Number of pages27
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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