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What is impact investing?

Impact investing means investing in companies that aim to deliver meaningful societal outcomes by addressing the world’s major societal and environmental challenges, while at the same time producing a financial return.

Unlike broader sustainable investing, impact investing requires that investors seek assets demonstrating specific characteristics:


Intentionality is a key differentiator between impact investing and other forms of sustainable investing. This means a company specifically sets out to deliver a particular impact, with that goal being part of the company’s mission statement, strategy and actual day-to-day operations (inadvertent impact doesn’t count). There is also intentionality from the investor’s viewpoint; that is, the intention to generate positive social or environmental impact through an investment – to achieve this, investors must actively pick stocks because of their positive impact, rather than screening out companies or picking the least bad from each sector.


In traditional impact investing, the ‘additionality’ of the investment is also considered, identifying and reporting the resultant impact of every pound, euro or dollar invested in a project – for example, a specific amount invested allowed a company to build social housing for 10,000 people, which otherwise would not have been built. This is the additionality of the investment.

Within public equity impact funds, which generally deal in secondary markets where the directing of that funding is not always possible, additionality is considered in other ways, generally focused on understanding the additionality of the company. To do that, we might ask how the world would be different if that particular company did not exist or if it were not adequately funded, or how replicable its products or services are. Increasingly, we are also considering how we can deliver additionality as investors ourselves, for example, by engaging with investees (see below).


We also consider the materiality of investees’ products or services. This is the level to which they help solve a given societal problem or contribute to a particular goal, such as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)*, and the percentage of a company’s revenue derived from those activities.

*Please note, while we support the UN SDGs, we are not associated with the UN and our funds are not endorsed by them.


Another key differentiator between impact investing and other forms of responsible investment is ‘measurability’. In other words, the company’s positive impact must be measurable. This is one of the central tenets of impact investing, and also one of its most challenging aspects, especially so for investors in public equity markets where measurement can be less clear – quality of data and measurability of intangibles are key challenges.

‘Triple I’ framework

Within M&G’s range of public equity impact funds, the Triple I framework (encompassing Investment, Intention and Impact) is a practical means of scoring candidate companies. The framework robustly and consistently applies set criteria and standards for rating the impact and investment case of these companies.

Each ‘I’ score is derived from the assessment and rating of its key drivers (see below). The team aims to achieve an optimal balance of quality companies, with a solid, established culture that is consistent with management’s vision and strategy. We require above-average scores in each category, to ensure impact is not achieved at the expense of the investment case, or vice versa, and to gain comfort that the company’s activities are in line with our aims. We also examine how material the impact is to a company’s revenues, helping to ensure that the company will continue to deliver that impact effectively, as it is core to its business.

Crucially, we look at the ‘net impact’ of every potential investment, to avoid the positive impact we have identified being outweighed by potentially negative activity. For example, a wind-turbine producer will have a material initial carbon footprint, as it makes large steel structures. However, we look over the lifetime of that structure to determine if it avoids more carbon emissions – through the generation of clean energy – than were expelled in its construction. Every company produces positive and negative impacts to various degrees, and we need to be confident that our companies are on the right side of that balance.

Find out more information about our ‘Triple I’ framework in this article.


• Business model • Competitive position • Capital allocation • Business risk • ESG risk • Liquidity


• Mission statement and purpose • Strategic alignment and culture • Implementation


• Materiality • Additionality • Measurability • Impact balance • Impact risk

The importance of engagement

Multiple parties, including the Global Impact Investing Network, highlight that engagement is not just an important part of impact investors’ toolkit, but a necessary demonstration of investor additionality*.

Impact engagements differ from more generic ESG engagements. They focus on supporting or challenging the company to protect or increase its primary positive impact. These engagements can cover a variety of topics, but may involve pushing companies to set more ambitious targets for the impact achieved, supporting it to allocate capital more actively to impactful activities, or encouraging it to report more clearly on its potential positive impact. By proactively engaging with investee companies, we can also reduce the risk of negative impacts being generated, and, where peripheral negative impacts may occur, work with stakeholders to address these issues.

Source: Global Impact Investing Network, ‘Guidance for Pursuing Impact in Listed Equities’, (, March 2023.

Discover our strategies related to impact investing

M&G Positive Impact Fund

A financial future built to make a positive impact

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M&G Better Health Solutions Fund

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The SDG Reckoning Report - Can the world catch up?

The next few years will be absolutely pivotal to closing the annual SDG financing gap – estimated to be around US$2.5 trillion. The annual "M&G SDG plc Reckoning report", issued by our parent company M&G plc since 2020, recalled that the scale of financial flows addressing the SDGs is insufficient. It is evident that both the public and private sector must augment action and direct capital towards addressing global problems such as food insecurity, health inequalities, discrimination, pollution, global warming and habitat loss.

Discover more in the M&G plc SDG Reckoning report

Please note, while we support the UN SDGs, we are not associated with the UN and our funds are not endorsed by them.

Meet the team

John William Olsen

Fund Manager

  • John William joined M&G in April 2014, and was appointed manager of the Global Sustain Paris Aligned and Pan European Sustain Paris Aligned strategies in July 2014.

  • John William Olsen has been the manager of the Positive Impact strategy since launch in November 2018.

  • Prior to joining M&G, he worked for Danske Capital, where from 2002 he had managed non-domestic equity portfolios, including the Global Stock Picking, Global Select and European Select strategies.

  • He joined Danske Capital in 1998 as a fund manager on the domestic Danish equities team, and in 2000 also became a global sector analyst focusing on technology and telecommunications stocks.

  • John William gained a BA in business economics and then an MSc in finance and accounting from Copenhagen Business School.

Ben Constable-Maxwell

Head of Impact Investing

  • Ben joined M&G Investments in 2003 and is now Head of Impact Investing, leading the firm’s strategy on impact investing as well as covering sustainability issues such as climate change and circular economy.

  • Ben is the Impact lead on the M&G Positive Impact and Climate Solutions Funds.

  • Ben has been central to the development of ESG integration within M&G’s investment processes and has supported the growth of Sustainable and Impact solutions for clients across asset classes.

  • Ben plays an active industry role as a member of sustainable and impact investment initiatives including the Investment Association’s SRI committee and the GIIN’s Listed Equities impact working group.

  • Previous to M&G, Ben spent four years with the Equities team at Invesco Perpetual. Ben has an Honours Degree in Classics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and holds the Certificate in Impact Measurement from the Said Business School at Oxford University.

Thembeka Stemela Dagbo

Fund Manager

  • Thembeka Stemela Dagbo is a South African national who joined M&G in July 2018 as an investment analyst for M&G Positive Impact Fund.

  • Thembeka manages the M&G (Lux) Diversity & Inclusion Fund and the Diversity & Inclusion Fineco Asset Management Fund.

  • She was appointed Deputy Fund Manager of M&G (Lux) Positive Impact Fund in June 2019.

  • She was previously a Vice President (VP) in the Equity Research Department at Credit Suisse International, where she joined as part of the Graduate Programme in 2012. She served as a primary analyst for the UK and Nordic non-life insurers.

  • Thembeka has a Bachelor of Business Science Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town (UCT), specialising in Economics. She also holds the Certificate in Impact Measurement from the Said Business School at Oxford University. 

Jasveet Brar

Fund Manager

  • Jasveet Brar became manager of the M&G Better Health Solutions strategy in June 2021 having been part of the M&G Positive Impact team since its establishment in 2018. He was also appointed fund manager of the Taishin Future Health Fund in October 2022.

  • Jasveet joined the M&G Equity team in December 2012 as a dedicated investment analyst with the Sustain franchise, leading on environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis and company engagement.

  •  He is a CFA charterholder and started his career with M&G as part of the graduate scheme in September 2011. Jasveet graduated from University College London with a first class honours BSc in Mathematics.

Michael Rae

Fund Manager

  • Michael was appointed fund manager of the M&G Climate Solutions strategy in February 2023. He has been  working as a senior analyst on the Sustain and Impact Equity Team with a focus on climate, circular economy and environmental stocks since 2022.

  • He joined M&G’s central equity analyst team as a Global Energy and Chemicals analyst in September 2019 from Redburn, where he was a Partner and Head of the Energy Team, with a focus on traditional and alternative energy companies.

  • Prior to Redburn, Michael spent seven years in equity research at Goldman Sachs covering the energy and chemicals sectors.

  • He began his career by completing the graduate programme at Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy, covering Alaska and Canada.

  • Michael has a first class degree in Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh

Susanne Grabinger

Investment Director

  • Susanne is the Investment Director for Sustainable and Impact Equities at M&G. She joined M&G back in 2010 as investment specialist providing support for M&G’s Value and Income funds. Before moving focusing on the sustainable & impact equities team, she was dedicated to the Multi Asset and Global Convertibles teams, most recently with a focus on the M&G Sustainable Multi Asset Strategies.

  • Prior to joining M&G, Susanne worked at JPMorgan Asset Management as a client portfolio manager, focusing on institutional equity accounts and balanced mutual funds.

  • She holds a Master’s degree in business administration from the University of Bamberg, Germany, and is a CFA charterholder. Susanne is fluent in German and English and is also proficient in French and Spanish. She also holds the CFA ESG Investing certificate.

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