The term "impact investing" is used informally by many in the investment community but there is increasing demand from investors to develop a global standard such as set out by the Global Impact Investing Network. Impact investing is generally accepted to describe investing that intentionally seeks measurable social and environmental benefits. It differs from socially responsible investing which traditionally avoids investments that are inconsistent with the values of the investors, such tobaccco and arms, or investments that might be associated with poor labour rights.
In November 2012 a survey of UK pension funds showed 48 planned to invest in green energy, social housing, microfinance or infrastructure in the next 12-24 months. This percentage would be more than double the 23 per cent who reported already owning such holdings.