Outside the Box: This investing strategy can make money and a better world

One of the trendiest — and perhaps least understood — emerging disciplines in financial markets right now is “impact investing.” This is the allocation of capital to generate a positive financial return in addition to creating measurable, durable social and/or financial value. Some recent examples:

* BlackRock BLK, +0.51% recruited Deborah Winshel from The Robin Hood Foundation to drive an impact mindset throughout the company — reflecting CEO Larry Fink’s provocative (and inspired) letter to his fellow S&P 500 SPX, +0.46% CEOs regarding climate change and the evils of short-term thinking.

* The Ford Foundation publicly committed to (eventually) convert 100% of its $12 billion endowment to impact investing.

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