Skip to main content
About HEC About HEC Faculty & Research Faculty & Research Master’s programs Master’s programs MBA Programs MBA Programs PhD Program PhD Program Executive Education Executive Education Summer School Summer School HEC Online HEC Online About HEC Overview Overview Who We Are Who We Are Egalité des chances Egalité des chances Career Center Career Center International International Campus Life Campus Life Stories Stories The HEC Foundation The HEC Foundation Coronavirus Coronavirus Faculty & Research Overview Overview Faculty Directory Faculty Directory Departments Departments Centers Centers Chairs Chairs Knowledge Knowledge Master’s programs Master in
Management Master in
MSc International
Finance MSc International
Masters Specialized
programs X-HEC
programs Dual-Degree
students Visiting
Certificates Certificates Student
Life Student
Stories Student
MBA Programs MBA MBA Executive MBA Executive MBA TRIUM EMBA TRIUM EMBA PhD Program Overview Overview HEC Difference HEC Difference Program details Program details Research areas Research areas HEC Community HEC Community Placement Placement Job Market Job Market Admissions Admissions Financing Financing Executive Education Executive Masters Executive Masters Executive Certificates Executive Certificates Executive short programs Executive short programs Online Online Train your teams Train your teams Executive MBA Executive MBA Summer School Summer programs Summer programs Youth Leadership Initiative Youth Leadership Initiative Admissions Admissions FAQ FAQ HEC Online Overview Overview Degree Program Degree Program Executive certificates Executive certificates MOOCs MOOCs
Executive Education

Finance with a positive social impact

Impact investment is a growing trend that aims to increase financial flows into social and environmental initiatives across the world. Impact investors look for projects that offer both financial returns and positive social outcomes, in areas such as education and healthcare.

Finance with a positive - Banner

"These investments can have greater social impact than mainstream financial attempts at integrating environmental and social concerns into portfolio management because this type of investment strategy focuses directly on areas of real social need," states Professor Mehrpouya.

However, the fundamental challenge is the difficulty in measuring the positive and constructive social impact of these investments on the communities receiving the capital. Considerable care also has to be taken to ensure that imposing financial obligations on organizations, which provide public goods, does not compromise their core values and focus.

Another very promising development is the rise of decentralized financial services – such as crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer mobile banking in remote and poor communities. B-Kash in Bangladesh is just one inspiring example. When the company was founded in 2010, 90% of Bangladeshis had never used a bank. By capitalizing on rapidly expanding mobile phone use among the poorest pockets of the population, BKash quickly expanded its peer-to-peer financial services. It now has over 24 million users - about one in three adults old enough to have an account. This type of financial service enables poor, rural communities to access markets, trade their products without have to use middlemen, and keep more of the returns.

Kiva is another example of a highly successful decentralized finance initiative. This peer-to-peer lending platform has now facilitated loans to over 2.5 million borrowers, who would not normally be able to borrow from traditional banks. In Kenya, M-Pesa uses microfinancing to bring the tradition of financially supporting the extended family into the 21st century, by increasing its reach and facilitating financial aid from family and friends overseas.

By integrating financial services into communities and their social relationships, these peer-to-peer services are more likely to support the long-term needs of local communities than distant investors, and help finance to become a driver of social good.


Afshin Mehrpouya

Afshin Mehrpouya is an Associate Professor of Accounting and Management Control Systems at HEC Paris. He qualified as a doctor in Iran and holds an MBA and PhD in management. His research focuses primarily on performance measurement in transnational governance, the construction of rankings and ratings and socially responsible investments.

Find out more in our Why Sustainability is Key to Business Performance white paper