2016 Best for the World Funds

In 2009 when the words “impact investing” were on the lips of thousands of financial professionals, two important new sets of criteria emerged to begin trying to define what those words mean: Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) and the Global Impact Investment Rating System (GIIRS, pronounced “gears”). The systems’ inventors had identified the need for standards of measurement, and a rigorous means of assessing social and environmental impact.

The independent nonprofit B Lab* created the GIIRS rating system to help fund managers assess and verify the impacts of their portfolio companies. The companies are scored based on their performance on the B Impact Assessment, which is administered by B Lab and incorporates IRIS metrics. Each fund then undergoes a verification process at B Lab to become a GIIRS-rated fund.

The funds receive two ratings: They are ranked bronze, silver, gold or platinum based on whether the companies’ purpose and mission inherently create social or environmental good (“IBM Rating”). The second is a star rating — rated, 3-star, 4-star or 5-star — based on the companies’ governance structure, employee treatment and policies, community involvement, and environmental footprint (“Operations Rating”).

The 50 funds from around the world listed on this page have successfully qualified as GIIRS-rated funds. We believe this also qualifies them as Best for the World Funds, because they are the only funds to submit their portfolios to this level of rigor, transparency and verification by an independent agency. These funds are helping to create a system for comparing fund performance that includes environmental and social metrics and, in so doing, are leaders in the effort to empower businesses that do good in the world.

Learn more about the Best for the World Funds criteria.

Keep scrolling to find stories about four GIIRS-rated funds, and their portfolios, that showcase areas where investors are creating change.

*B Lab is a major shareholder in B the Change Media.

Top 10 Funds Based on Their Impact Business Model Rating

GIIRS funds receive a medal rating, platinum being the highest, for the portfolio companies’ Impact Business Model (IBM) rating, which recognizes companies that are specifically designed to solve social or environmental problems.

Top 10 Funds Based on Their Operations Rating

GIIRS funds receive a star rating, with 5 stars being the highest, for the Operations Rating of their portfolio companies. This rating evaluates the impact of each business in how it operates and is sometimes referred to as “ESG,” or Environmental, Social and Governance practices.

The List

This list highlight the 50 GIIRS-rated funds, along with their fund managers, impact goals, and sample portfolio companies to showcase how the funds’ investments do good in the world. The geographic variety and breadth of focus are inspiring.

Printable List
GIIRS Fund Fund ManagerImpact GoalPortfolio Companies Include
Access Ventures IAccess Ventures; Louisville, KentuckyU.S.-based investments that aim to build more inclusive economies. MobileServe: social-good social media app; Virtuous: nonprofit donor-management software
Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund LPQuona Capital; Cambridge, MassachusettsInvests in financial technology enabling the un- and underbanked.Fund in formation
Adobe Social Mezzanine Fund I LPAdobe Capital; Mexico CitySupports the early growth of social and environmental enterprises in Mexico.Finae SAPI de CV Sofom ENR: improves access to higher education for low-income students; NATGAS: natural-gas-powered vehicles and infrastructure
African Agricultural Capital FundPearl Capital Partners; Kampala, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya; MauritiusInvests in small and medium-sized agribusinesses in Eastern and Southern Africa that have a high social impact on smallholder farmers.Eldoville Dairies Ltd.: fresh, safe dairy products in Kenya; Biyinzika Poultry International Ltd.: quality day-old chicks in Uganda
AgrodesarrolloSembrador; Santiago, ChileAims to narrow the financing gap for agribusiness, fund innovative agribusiness projects and support agro-entrepreneurs in Chile.Botanical Solutions: sustainable alternatives to agricultural chemical use; El Arenal SpA: productive fruit farm, which grows and sells citrus and table grapes among other crops
Annona Sustainable Investments IAnnona Sustainable Investments BV; Utrecht, NetherlandsSeeks to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa and Latin America.Agricafé: sustainable specialty coffee in Bolivia; Asilia Africa: ecotourism and safaris in Kenya and Tanzania
Arborview Capital Partners LPArborview Capital; Chevy Chase, MarylandImpact-focused growth-equity and venture-capital investments in high-growth, mission-oriented companies that create positive systemic change and top-tier returns to all stakeholders.Rachio: smart sprinkler controller that has saved 1.8 billion gallons of water to date; LRI Energy Solutions: energy- and water-efficiency services
Bain Capital Double Impact FundBain Capital Double Impact; BostonUtilizes Bain Capital’s proven, deep-diligence, value-added approach to build great companies that deliver competitive financial returns and meaningful, measurable social and environmental good.Fund in formation
Bridges Ventures U.S. Sustainable Growth Fund LPBridges Ventures LLP; New York City; LondonInvests in growth-stage businesses that are located in or serve underserved communities in the areas of health and wellness, education and skills, and sustainable living.Fund in formation
Catalyst Microfinance InvestorsCatalyst Microfinance Investment CompanyInvests in microfinance organizations in Asia and Africa. Primarily invests in ASA International Holding, a company that invests in and operates microfinance institutions that are operating on the basis of the ASA Model developed by ASA Bangladesh. ASA International Holding: provides financial services to low-income people, mainly women, and microenterprises located in poor and distressed communities
DWM Inclusive Finance Equity Fund IIDeveloping World Markets; Stamford, ConnecticutSeeks positive social and economic impact in emerging and frontier markets.Fund in formation
Elah Fund IElah Fund I LP; New York CityInvests primarily in medium-sized, revenue-generating companies in Israel’s Negev and Galilee regions.Fund in formation
Endeavor GlobalEndeavor Global; New York CityAims to achieve the long-term capital appreciation usually associated with early-stage seed investments.Fund in formation
Essential Capital Consortium B.V.Global Social Finance Group, Deutsche Asset Management; New York CitySeeks to respond to gaps and opportunities in the emerging impact-investing industry and address the needs of the poor around the world.Mobisol: offers low-income customers in developing nations quality home solar systems; Glocal Healthcare Systems: provides comprehensive primary and secondary health care in medically underserved areas
FCP InversorInversor; ColombiaSupports development and growth of small to mid-sized enterprises in Colombia that generate social and environmental impact, such as e-waste reduction and improvement of labor conditions.Fruandes: produces sustainable, healthy food for domestic and international markets; Groncol: affordable, living-building construction
FIP MOV IMov Investimentos; BrazilInvests to generate opportunities for vulnerable populations and promote sustainable use of natural resources in Brazil.EBES Sistemas de Energia: home-produced renewable energy production; Terra Nova Regularizações Fundiárias: mediates land disputes in urban areas to develop agrarian spaces
Fondo de Inversión SocialAmeris Capital; Santiago, ChileInvests in Chilean microfinance, education, health care, social housing and environmental businesses to solve social challenges that are usually considered public responsibility.Fe y Alegría Chile A.G.: participatory education, vocational training and social-organizing skills; Lumni Chile: education and training finance that uses a revenue-sharing model
Gray Ghost DOEN Social Ventures CoöperatiefGray Ghost Ventures; Atlanta, Georgia; Chennai, IndiaInvests in early-stage enterprises providing catalytic innovation and leapfrogging technologies in the developing world, with a focus on the information, communication and technology sectors.PharmaSecure: software and technology company working to improve global public health using mobile phone technology; bKash: provides mobile money services through a mobile wallet for both the banked and unbanked populations of Bangladesh
HCAP Partners III, L.P..HCAP Partners; San DiegoProvides capital to “underserved” businesses that tend to employ low-to-moderate income and ethnic minority employees, are in low-income areas, and/or are owned and operated by ethnic minorities.Cubex: inventory management and point-of-use dispensing solutions in the health care sector; Noribachi: U.S.-based manufacturer of commercial and industrial LED lighting
Impact America Fund LPImpact America Fund; Oakland, CaliforniaInvests in billion-dollar market opportunities that use technology to enhance the lives of all Americans.ConnXus: software helping large companies expand supplier diversity; Mayvenn: e-commerce platform for hairstylists
Impact First Fund 1Impact First Investments; Herzliya, Israel; New York CityIs creating the first Israeli impact-investment vehicle, specifically designed to channel Israeli technology innovation to create global social and environmental impact.Fund in formation, actively raising capital
India Financial Inclusion FundCaspian Capital Partners; Hyderabad, IndiaSeeks investments in India to achieve double-bottom-line objectives of financial inclusion and capital appreciation.Janalakshmi Financial Services: microfinance for the unbanked; MHFC: housing finance for lower-income households
Investeco Sustainable Food Fund LPInvesteco Capital; TorontoInvests in companies that produce environmentally superior food and agricultural products or services in North America.100km Foods Inc.: local-food network and infrastructure in Ontario; Maple Hill Creamery: 100 percent grass-fed dairy
Investeco Sustainable Food Fund II LPInvesteco Capital; TorontoInvests to promote sustainable agriculture in North America.Fund in formation
LeapFrog Financial Inclusion Fund II LPLeapFrog Investments; Johannesburg, South Africa; SingaporeInvests in businesses that provide insurance and other critical financial tools to low-income or financially excluded people across Africa and Asia.Magma Fincorp: home, car and small-business loans in India; UT Life Insurance Co.: life-insurance services in Ghana
LFE Growth Fund IIILFE Capital; Wayzata, MinnesotaProvides growth capital and operating expertise to second-stage companies in the health and wellness sector with a focus on women-owned or women-led businesses.Fund in formation, actively raising capital
Mergence High Impact DebtMergence Investment Managers; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South AfricaInvests in projects, businesses, organizations and funds that encourage and enhance growth and development in South Africa.Edu-Loan: education financial services; SA Taxi Finance Holdings: taxi finance and services for minibus entrepreneurs
Mexico Development Fund IPC Capital; Mexico CityInvests in Mexico’s small-cap, high-growth opportunities of proven but underdeveloped business concepts and industries.Cesar’s Pizza: affordable carryout pizza franchise; Te Creemos: comprehensive financial services and community banking
MicroVest*MicroVest Capital Management LLC; Bethesda, MarylandInvests equity and debt capital in underbanked markets, providing access to a growing portfolio of sustainable financial institutions serving populations that would not otherwise have access to formal financial services.Not disclosed
Oasis FundBamboo Capital Partners; Bogotá, Colombia; Geneva; Nairobi, Kenya; Singapore; LuxembourgFunds entrepreneurs and organizations with innovative, profitable ways to improve people’s lives and bring affordable services to low- and middle-income communities.Greenlight Planet: affordable solar products for under-electrified rural communities; Vaatsalya: hospital network located in lower-income, mostly rural towns in India
Osiris Asia Impact FundThe Osiris Group; Roxbury, MassachusettsInvests in scalable businesses in Bangladesh that are leapfrogging long-term development and growth. AFC Health: affordable hospitals and health care services; SOLARIC: solar power to off-grid households
Promotora Social MéxicoPromotora Social México; Mexico CitySeeks to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable and underprivileged people in Mexico through investments in sustainable social businesses.Clínicas del Azúcar: affordable and specialized diabetes care; Laudex: higher-education student loans
Prospero Microfinanzas FundGrassroots Capital Management PBC (USA) and BIM Asset Management; Lima, Peru; La Paz, Bolivia; Managua, Nicaragua Makes equity and equity-like investments in microfinance institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.CIDRE IFD: financial institution focused on rural development in Bolivia; Óptima Servicios Financieros: financial institution that supports micro-, small and mid-sized enterprises in El Salvador
Quadria Capital FundQuadria Capital Investment Management Pte. Ltd.; Singapore
Invests in the high-growth health care sector of some of the world’s fastest growing economies in South and Southeast Asia.Fund in formation
Renewal2Renewal Funds; Vancouver, British ColumbiaInvests in early-growth-stage companies in Canada and the U.S. to create a diversified portfolio of mission companies.Alter Eco: organic, fair-trade foods; Seventh Generation: plant-based home and personal care goods
Renewal3Renewal Funds; Vancouver, British ColumbiaInvests in early-growth-stage companies in Canada and the U.S. to create a diversified portfolio of mission companies.PRANA: organic food products; Sensible Organics Inc.: organic personal-care products
Renovus Fund IRenovus Capital; Wynnewood, PennsylvaniaInvests in U.S. education companies that deliver strong value propositions to their students or other core customers.Hillsboro Aero Academy: helicopter and airplane flight school and career advancement; Telemedia Trainco Holdings: maintenance technician training and career learning
Rethink Education LP* Rethink Education; White Plains, New YorkAims to transform the way people learn by partnering with early- and growth-stage education-technology entrepreneurs in the U.S.Not disclosed
Rethink ImpactRethink Impact; Washington, D.C.; New York City; San Francisco
Invests in inclusive leadership teams, tech platforms and networks that are ecosystems of change.Not disclosed
SJF Ventures IISJF Ventures; Durham, North CarolinaInvests in high-growth companies creating a healthier, smarter and cleaner future, catalyzing the development of highly successful businesses driving lasting, positive changes.Community Energy: supplies green-power programs in more than 20 distinct markets in the Northeast and Midwest; Optoro: optimizes the processing and selling of returned and excess retail consumer goods
SJF Ventures IIISJF Ventures; Durham, North CarolinaInvests in high-growth companies creating a healthier, smarter and cleaner future, catalyzing the development of highly successful businesses driving lasting, positive changes.Civitas Learning: combines new technology, design thinking, and data science to enhance the higher education market; Vital Farms: provides pasture-raised eggs and poultry products
Small Business Community Capital Small Business Community Capital LP; Stamford, ConnecticutProvides capital to small businesses primarily in low- to moderate-income urban areas and inner cities with a focus on minority- and women-owned enterprises.Fund in formation, actively raising capital
SocialAlpha BastionAlphaMundi Group Ltd.; ZurichSeeks to reduce poverty and preserve the environment, with an emphasis on developing countries.Honey Care Africa Ltd.: smallholder, sustainable African honey production; Solar Now: affordable solar-energy systems in sub-Saharan Africa
Velum Early Stage Fund IVelum Ventures; Medellín, Colombia
Focuses on early-stage companies with high technological and innovative value, located in Colombia. Ciudaddemascotas.com: pet-care services and pet-owner education; Hogaru.com: home-cleaning services
Venture Innovation Fund IIVenture Partners; Mexico City
Enables entrepreneurs to disrupt and create new markets by creating solutions to persistent problems in Mexico.Estrategia Energía Eléctrica: electricity-trading platform for private producers and mid-sized consumers; Médica Santa Carmen: low-cost care centers for patients with kidney failure
Village Capital FundVilCap Investments; San Francisco
Invests in companies with a social or environmental mission sourced from Village Capital programs.Ojay Greene: sources fruits and vegetables from farmers and distributes them to Kenyan supermarkets and hotels; Rimidi Diabetes: U.S.-based company aiming to improve health outcomes and decrease costs for diabetes
Vital Capital FundVital Capital; Zurich
Improving economic, personal and social well-being for middle- to low-income populations in sub-Saharan Africa while providing investors with attractive financial returns.Kora Angola: construction of quality, affordable housing for the Angolan middle class; WaterHealth International: U.S.-based global provider of safe, reliable water for underserved communities
Vox Impact Investing I FIPVox Capital; São Paulo, Brazil
Invests in highly scalable companies that, through technology, will help reduce social inequality and improve the lives of millions of low-income people, especially in Brazil.Avante: offers financial solutions to micro- and small enterprises; Magnamed: manufactures technological lung ventilators for intensive care
*Contains two funds rolled into one listing.

The Stories

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