In response to growing concern about global issues, impact investing is in increasing demand, and has become essential in the view of many shareholders.
But the niche channels of private markets, to which impact investing has so far been confined, are no longer sufficient to support the expansion.
The magnitude of environmental and social issues that we face requires large-scale solutions that only the public equity market is large enough to provide, with active engagement by fund managers to line up company practices with investors' values.
One lesson that will likely stay with us long after Covid-19 will be the realisation of how connected we are.
The big issues affecting our planet are not local. Good access to healthcare, education, sustainable food production, climate change, sustainable and clean cities and supply chains are not only developing country issues.
We are witnessing that problems arising in the remotest corners of the world have the potential to deeply affect our lives.
The only way is to develop global solutions for the planet and all the people on it. This job is too big just for governments, philanthropy, development finance and startups.
We need the power of large public corporations. There are many fixers among them and they are likely to be richly rewarded for the innovative solutions they provide for a better planet.
In recent years the idea of what a firm should be providing its shareholders has evolved from purely maximising financial value to improving welfare too, in step with the growing demand for sustainable investing and increasing focus on environmental, social and governance factors. Yet while demand for such investments is high, accessibility is low.
Only a fraction of those who would like to opt for a sustainable investment portfolio have done so, for lack of availability of the products they seek which are addressing their concerns about such issues as the planet, plastic pollution, climate change, working conditions, and wages.
For these unfulfilled investors to find the candidates they are looking for, impact investing needs to spread further out of private markets and into public equities.
Some sceptics do not see how public equities, which deal mainly in secondary capital, can fund impact directly.
But equity markets are capital allocators and by allocating more capital to impact companies on a wider scale, investors can reduce the cost of capital for those firms, supporting their growth and investments.
In fact, the public market is the only vehicle that can give direct access to retail investors who want their savings to make an impact.