We have the skills and the tools to create a more equitable economy and society for all people, and investors have an essential role to play.
Capital and investment are powerful drivers of innovation and prosperity, but they have also played a role in fostering racial and economic inequality. Today, inequality threatens all of us — from our ability to provide for our families and put food on the table to the stability of our economy and democracy. Unless inequality is addressed, the fate of investment portfolios and long-term value creation are also at risk.
The Investor Blueprint — by PolicyLink in partnership with CapEQ and FSG — aims to catalyze investors on the imperative of integrating racial and economic equity holistically within their institutions, from the heart of their purpose to their decision-making processes, investment strategies, and measures of organizational effectiveness.
Capital is a powerful driver of innovation and prosperity in our society, but it is not neutral. All investments have social impacts. So all investing ought to be equitable investing.
Part 1 of the Investor Blueprint explains "the why" of centering equity in investment strategies and is intended to be a tool for gaining buy-in and driving alignment within investment firms. We introduce a bold new mindset — that all investing ought to be equitable investing — and make the case to support it.
Part 2 shares “the how” with a comprehensive framework for action that leverages multiple pathways for investors to advance the racial and economic equity outcomes that are most critical. The framework focuses on 10 critical equity outcomes investors should hold close, 3 powerful levers they can pull to bring about positive change, and 14 practical actions for investors to undertake, with guidance, resources, and key performance indicators to support execution.
Lever 1: Strengthening Governance and Culture
- Conduct assessment & planning
- Embed equity in governance
- Increase diversity and build representative leadership
- Champion accountability and transparency
- Increase capacity and transform culture
Lever 2: Reevaluating Risk
- Invest in consensus-building on inequality as a systemic risk
- Embed racial and economic equity throughout the investment lifecycle
- Invest in fund managers of color
- Engage capital allocators, asset managers, and investment consultants
- Implement capacity-building programs for current and potential investees
Lever 3: Building Equitable Portfolios
- Activate your entire portfolio over time
- Be an active owner
- Advocate and engage equitably
- Engage stakeholders in designing and deploying new investments for inclusion
The framework can be used by asset owners and asset managers across a variety of asset classes, as well as intermediaries and service providers supporting them.
Five Bold Goals Toward an Equitable Future
The Investor Blueprint concludes by lifting up 5 bold goals — the highest-leverage performance indicators from the action framework that collectively exemplify equitable and inclusive growth and would signify real progress in dismantling centuries of discrimination and exclusion if achieved. These goals represent the unrealized economic potential of our nation’s diversity:
- Representative investment leadership: 40% or more of capital decision-makers within the firm and among asset managers are people of color and 50% or more are women.
- Representative portfolio company leadership: 40% or more of portfolio company leadership are people of color and 50% or more are women.
- Equitable investments: 40% or more of capital is deployed to businesses owned by people of color and historically underinvested communities.
- Innovating for greater inclusion: Investors are designing and deploying new, inclusive investment structures that open up greater opportunities for growth for smaller funds and smaller businesses.
- Aligning all capital with equitable investing: More than half of assets under management (AUM) align with the standards in the Investor Blueprint, steadily increasing to 100% of AUM over time.
The stability and fairness of our economy demand greater leadership from investors toward shared prosperity. It is all of our business to make this future a reality — a future where everyone belongs and all people can enjoy a dignified standard of living for themselves and their families, build generational wealth, live in healthy communities of opportunity, and access what they need to thrive as human beings. Investors, how will you lead?
What leaders are saying about the Investor Blueprint
“Investors and asset managers have a role to play in creating a better, fairer society. Stakeholders, including clients, are asking us to do this, and there is a business imperative to reflect the diversity of society and the economy. This Investor Blueprint for Racial and Economic Equity summarizes important research and outlines bold goals to address racial inequities and social problems.”
Ladell Robbins, Senior Portfolio Manager, BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund
“Underserved communities, particularly Black-owned businesses, have a part to play in maximizing the commercial potential for any investor. Providing capital is only one approach; providing access to the opportunity to participate in the value chains of non-minority business can not only benefit these communities but also widen the aperture for any investment. Leveraging inclusivity can be an alpha multiplier and/or risk mitigant, and the Investor Blueprint for Racial and Economic Equity can help investors understand this potential.”
Aron Betru, Chief Strategic Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Trident
“Impact investing continues to grow and attract new investors. Many asset managers are struggling to keep up with demand and understand unique client needs – especially around issues of race and equity. The Investor Blueprint for Racial and Economic Equity will give managers the tools they need to appropriately respond to client questions and interests.”
Lisa Hall, Co-Editor of Investing for Social Impact, Economic Justice, and Racial Equity
“The Investor Blueprint for Racial and Economic Equity is a bold call to action for investors to play a leading role in building a more equitable economy. Access to capital is the key driver of economic security and prosperity, but too many people and communities across America are overlooked or left behind. Investors can use the Blueprint to understand the pathways they have to leverage capital toward greater fairness and opportunity for all people.”
Darrick Hamilton, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and Founding Director of the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy at The New School
“The Investor Blueprint for Racial and Economic Equity boldly aims to transform the way investing is done to advance positive social and economic outcomes. Transforming the role of business and investment in our society is one of the greatest imperatives of our time. Investors that adopt the Blueprint’s ethos of investing equitably and the clear roadmap for action will solidify their long-term competitiveness, tap into powerful value-creating opportunities, and play a positive role in bringing about equitable outcomes for society as a whole.”
Mark Kramer, Co-Founder, Senior Advisor, and Board Member, FSG
“The Investor Blueprint for Racial and Economic Equity powerfully makes the connection between the cycle of poverty in America and the flow of capital across our economy. As investors grapple with the role they can play in bringing about a more just and equitable economy, the Blueprint provides a clear pathway for action and meaningful impact. There’s no way around the problem of poverty and inequality and we have the solutions right in front of us — investing more and investing equitably in communities across our nation.”
Geoffrey Canada, President, Harlem Children’s Zone
“The Investor Blueprint is a powerful resource that, if adopted by investors far and wide, would be a game-changer in the US economy. The economic drag of inequality is underappreciated in the investment community. The Blueprint deftly shows how investors have a window of opportunity to help turn things around, tap into unrealized economic potential across our markets, and protect their investments for the long term. Those who act will be contributing to pushing the system in the direction it needs to go.”
Dr. Gillian Marcelle, CEO, Resilience Capital Ventures and originator of the Triple B Framework
Connections to Our Broader Work
The Investor Blueprint brings together and builds on two bodies of work to support corporate America in becoming lasting champions of racial and economic equity: our collaboration with the Global Impact Investing Network in developing the IRIS+ Racial Equity Theme and our initiative to develop corporate performance standards on racial and economic equity.