Head of ESG & Impact, Vital Capital
Ms. Shvartzvald graduated from the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students at Tel Aviv University. Her diverse studies included many aspects of environmental and social sustainability such as business practices, public policy and exact sciences. Renana received her Master’s degree in environmental policy, summa cum laude, from the Porter School of Environmental Studies at TAU in collaboration with the Freie Universität Berlin.
Ms. Shvartzvald has accumulated significant experience in project oversight and controlling, as well as organizational process implementation. She was previously employed in this capacity as head of IT budget and control systems content in a large project design and execution company operating primarily in Africa. Renana is currently a member of Vital Capital’s investment team, where she is responsible for social and environmental impact analysis and policy.
Recognizing the growing importance of impact investing, EMPEA established an Impact Investing Council in 2013 to play a leading role in professionalizing and scaling the industry, focusing specifically on market-based solutions to major global social and environmental challenges. EMPEA believes that private equity investors have much to contribute to impact investing in emerging markets. The private equity discipline lends commercial expertise and financial rigor, and private equity practitioners have years of experience operating in underserved geographies and inherently impactful sectors (e.g. financial services, healthcare, education, agribusiness, and housing), with customer segments (e.g. low income people and those excluded from traditional sources of finance).
Since its inception, EMPEA has contributed to the acceptance of emerging markets private equity as a credible and attractive investment approach. Despite the vast potential for impact investing to unlock growth and reduce poverty in emerging markets there is still much skepticism about its power to do so. The domain is fragmented, and the data available to investors on the institutional quality of investment managers as well as their performance, are lacking. The EMPEA Impact Investing Council is well positioned to help private equity impact investing overcome some of these obstacles and realize its potential. The Council seeks to bring together leading impact investing practitioners and thought leaders to share best practices, support rigorous research, assist in the development of innovative business models and performance databases. In this chapter, several Council members describe a range of private equity approaches to impact investing, explain how they add value and measure impact, and highlight the challenges still to overcome.