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Impact Report 2023 Summary

The Improving Society Strategy was developed to generate intentional, measurable positive change in the world while also generating long-term financial returns for our clients. The inaugural report provides the ethos and aims of the Strategy.

Date published
6 Jun 2024
Lauran Halpin Head of Impact Equities
John Gilmore Portfolio Manager, Impact Equities/ Stewardship, Sustainability and Impact Specialist
Eoghan McGrath Investment Analyst, Stewardship, Sustainability and Impact

We firmly believe that public equities offering impactful, innovative solutions can drive real world change at scale which is vital given the large funding gap in most social causes globally.

Societal and social challenges remain chronically underfunded

In its most recent status report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN estimates that they remain chronically underfunded and as such are behind schedule. 50% of targets are behind schedule and 30% have gone backwards since they were established in 20151. We think equity markets and particularly impact products can have a role in solving these social challenges. Our premise for this strategy is two-fold:

  • The private sector and equity markets are instrumental in incentivising innovation, accelerating investment and providing scalable solutions to support these challenges; and
  • The biggest funding gap is on social issues. This is because impact capital to date has predominantly been directed towards environmental or climate challenges rather than social challenges.

We choose to focus on the seven SDGs which we believe to have the most significant shortfall in delivery, SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 102. We want to play our part in promoting solutions to these areas and to achieve this, we invest in companies whose products and services fall into one of three Impact Pillars which are Improve Wellbeing, Improve Inclusion and Just Transition.

Progress assessment for the 17 Goals based on assessed targets, 2023 or latest data (percentage)

Source: United Nations, ‘The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023’3.

  • Our report is just the beginning of a longer journey to deliver impact and investment return through our holdings and we look forward to sharing our progress with you, our investors, in future Impact Reports over the coming years.

Impactful companies can deliver exceptional long-term returns

A focus on impact should not lead to a sacrifice of returns for investors. We firmly believe and can demonstrate that impact and financial performance are positively interrelated. Companies that create impactful and innovative products which meet the unmet societal needs of consumers, businesses and governments, can access attractive growth opportunities through the scale that only public markets can offer. Quality companies should attract additional capital, thereby expanding as a force for good in the world with profit generation allowing for reinvestment to generate further impact and compound returns for shareholders.

Measuring impact is difficult, and to compare across different investee companies can be misleading. How does one compare lifesaving orphan drugs that may only have patient numbers in the hundreds with technology that enhances food security for billions of people across the world? That is why we tailor our measures, to gauge progress through company-specific impact key performance indicators (KPIs). And why we provide transparency on our impact measurement metrics for each company in which we invest.

How we think about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We use the SDGs to make our actions as investors more specific and intentional. We construct our primary research universe through an SDG lens by identifying companies whose products and services make a significant contribution to them. We organise our research by SDG so we can find businesses whose products and services effectively solve the identified challenges rather than exhibiting simply broad alignment. Many investors split coverage by sector or geography – we believe this is misplaced in an impact fund. Finally, we are outcomes-focused. We use the underlying SDG targets to be more specific about the outcome being targeted and to identify where this should fit within our broader impact framing for the strategy.

Accelerating impact through engagement

We recognise the power of active ownership including engagement and voting practices to generate change. As a long-term capital partner with our investee companies, it is our responsibility to do what we can to encourage positive change. In the pursuit of this, we use objective-led stewardship to engage across two lenses:

  1. Engaging to accelerate the positive impact being created by the company’s products and services, and
  2. Engaging to improve corporate behaviour.

Our engagement on impact can be broadly split into three main axes of impact: impact disclosure, accessibility of impact and acceleration of impact. We have seen recent improvements in disclosure around environmental, social and governance topics. Impact reporting is related but distinct and this disclosure is still developing. Recognising this, a lot of our initial engagement work has been around disclosure and measurement of company impact.

Lens split for engagements to date


Source: Martin Currie, December 2023.


Our report is just the beginning of a longer journey to deliver impact and investment return through our holdings and we look forward to sharing our progress with you, our investors, in future Impact Reports over the coming years.

We hope you enjoy reading the full Impact report, in which we present to you the collection of ‘short stories’ on social impact which make up the Improving Society Strategy. Each company tells the story of the positive impact it is making in the world through its own specific impact analysis and key performance indicators.


1Source: UN Sustainable Development Goals, The Sustainable Development Goals Report, 10 July 2023 – Special Edition.

2Source: For further information, please refer to our publication ‘The Seven Sustainable Development Goals’, July 2023. This is available upon request.

3Source: UN Sustainable Development Goals, The Sustainable Development Goals Report, 10 July 2023.

Important information

This information is issued and approved by Martin Currie Investment Management Limited (‘MCIM’), authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It does not constitute investment advice. Market and currency movements may cause the capital value of shares, and the income from them, to fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.

The information contained in this document has been compiled with considerable care to ensure its accuracy. However, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made to its accuracy or completeness. Martin Currie has procured any research or analysis contained in this document for its own use. It is provided to you only incidentally and any opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.

The document does not form the basis of, nor should it be relied upon in connection with, any subsequent contract or agreement. It does not constitute, and may not be used for the purpose of, an offer or invitation to subscribe for or otherwise acquire shares in any of the products mentioned.

Past performance is not a guide to future returns.

The distribution of specific products is restricted in certain jurisdictions, investors should be aware of these restrictions before requesting further specific information.

Martin Currie has procured any research or analysis contained in this presentation for its own use. It is provided to you only incidentally, and any opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.

The views expressed are opinions of the portfolio managers as of the date of this document and are subject to change based on market and other conditions and may differ from other portfolio managers or of the firm as a whole. These opinions are not intended to be a forecast of future events, research, a guarantee of future results or investment advice.

Please note the information within this report has been produced internally using unaudited data and has not been independently verified. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, no guarantee can be given.

The analysis of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors forms an important part of the investment process and helps inform investment decisions. The strategy does not necessarily target particular sustainability outcomes.

The information provided should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular strategy / fund / security. It should not be assumed that any of the securities discussed here were or will prove to be profitable.

It is not known whether the stocks mentioned will feature in any future portfolios managed by Martin Currie. Any stock examples will represent a small part of a portfolio and are used purely to demonstrate our investment style. Holdings are subject to change.

Risk warnings - Investors should also be aware of the following risk factors which may be applicable to the strategy shown in this document.

  • Investing in foreign markets introduces a risk where adverse movements in currency exchange rates could result in a decrease in the value of your investment.
  • This strategy may hold a limited number of investments. If one of these investments falls in value this can have a greater impact on the strategy’s value than if it held a larger number of investments.
  • Smaller companies may be riskier and their shares may be less liquid than larger companies, meaning that their share price may be more volatile.
  • Emerging markets or less developed countries may face more political, economic or structural challenges than developed countries. Accordingly, investment in emerging markets is generally characterised by higher levels of risk than investment in fully developed markets.
  • The strategy may invest in derivatives, Index futures and FX forwards to obtain, increase or reduce exposure to underlying assets. The use of derivatives may result in greater fluctuations of returns due to the value of the derivative not moving in line with the underlying asset. Certain types of derivatives can be difficult to purchase or sell in certain market conditions.
  • The integration of sustainability risks in the investment decision process may have the effect of excluding profitable investments from the investment universe of the strategy and may also cause the strategy to sell investments that will continue to perform well.

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The information contained within this presentation is for Institutional Investors only who meet the definition of Accredited Investor as defined in Rule 501 of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (‘The 1933 Act’) and the definition of Qualified Purchasers as defined in section 2 (a) (51) (A) of the United States Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (‘the 1940 Act’). It is not for intended for use by members of the general public.

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Further, no legal or natural persons of the PRC may directly or indirectly purchase any of the strategy or any beneficial interest therein without obtaining all prior PRC’s governmental approvals that are required, whether statutorily or otherwise. Persons who come into possession of this document are required by the issuer and its representatives to observe these restrictions.

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