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What does an ‘impact economy’ actually mean?

Impact economy. Wellbeing economy. Mission-driven economy. These terms are becoming increasingly common, and yet there is still an element of mystery around them. At SIS, we’re focused on building an impact economy. But what does this actually mean?

The success of a nation has long been thought of in terms of financial performance [1]. But what if societal and environmental wellbeing was weaved into the DNA of how a country operates? What if economic success was measured not only on GDP but on the creation of positive social and environmental change?

This is an impact economy.

In its simplest form, an impact economy is centred around the holistic production and consumption of goods and services that strengthen society and the environment. It is an economy that creates a positive ripple effect for people and planet through its fundamental operations.

At SIS, we believe an impact economy sees all members of society contribute towards a more just and thriving future for all. It is an economy where:

  • Entrepreneurs consider social and environmental impact from the outset and can access mission-aligned investment and support
  • Businesses are a force for good and implement responsible business practices as standard
  • Consumers live sustainably and use their purchasing power for positive change
  • Investors make impactful investments, seeking both financial and social return
  • Governments partner with social enterprises and other mission-driven businesses in a range of ways, as well as mandate responsible practices throughout their supply chain

If we think of ‘impact’ as a spectrum, our mission to build an impact economy is an effort to move the dial from negative impact to positive impact – across all facets of society. An economy operating on the positive side of this scale acknowledges that an impact first approach can contribute to improved societal wellbeing, environmental sustainability, and shared economic success.

While we’re still early in the journey towards an impact economy, our experience of the last 20 years is that people are increasingly eager to make a change. We believe that we can work collaboratively to create a thriving society that also delivers on a reimagined bottom line.

At SIS, we’re here to help connect the dots: to offer financial investment and business support, to make introductions and provide advice, and to influence those who might need a little more insight into the value of an impact economy.

Find out more about how SIS is building an impact economy in our latest impact report here.

[1] ‘What is GDP?’, Office for National Statistics. Available here. (Accessed 22 March 2021).