The investment manager has allocated more than $1 billion to impact investments over the past decade

NEW YORK – Nuveen, a leading global investment manager, today has released a report identifying five key investment opportunities for impact investors in 2020 and beyond. The report, Raising the Bar – Impact Investing in a Changing World, highlights Nuveen’s 30-year track record as an impact investor and how during its three-decades of market leadership it has produced transparent and measurable social and environmental outcomes along with risk-adjusted financial returns for investors.

“At the core of our impact investment thesis is the emerging low-income consumer and the belief that they are underserved in their access to basic products and services”

“At the core of our impact investment thesis is the emerging low-income consumer and the belief that they are underserved in their access to basic products and services,” said Rekha Unnithan, Co-Head of Private Markets Impact Investing at Nuveen. “We’re excited by how the industry has evolved and looking ahead, we believe the transition to a more sustainable world, and the investment opportunities to help achieve this, will be driven by five themes – financial inclusion, healthcare, education, affordable housing and resource efficiency.”

Below is an overview of Nuveen’s priority impact investing themes.





Financial inclusion

1.7 billion people globally remain unbanked. Financial

services are still not affordable for low-income consumers and small businesses

Access to financial services enables people to invest in their healthcare, education and businesses

• Microfinance

• Microinsurance

• SME lending

• Payments

• Fintech


90% of the world’s disease burden is borne by low-and middle-income countries, yet they only represent 12% of the world’s health expenditures

Making healthcare more affordable and accessible leads to equitable health outcomes and saves lives

• Hospitals & clinics

• Diagnostics

• Low-cost medicines

• Innovative delivery


250 million children globally are illiterate and excluded from education

By providing school financing, healthy meals, and the use of EdTech, the access to quality education can be improved. This will help break the cycle of poverty by increasing income

• K-12 schools

• EdTech

• School financing

Affordable housing

38 million U.S. households are cost-burdened, with 18 million of those spending more than 50% of income on housing

Increasing affordable housing and improving quality of life gives families more discretionary income, enabling them to spend on essential services

• Affordable housing preservation

• Social services

• Green improvements

• Transit services

Resource efficiency

14% of the world’s methane emissions come from landfills (the third largest source), yet material consumption continues to increase

Technological advances create opportunities to reduce the world’s

greenhouse gas emissions and material footprint by minimizing resources used and waste generated

• Waste reduction

• Agriculture efficiency

• Green building materials

• Water

Unnithan, who presented Nuveen’s approach to impact and focus areas as part of a panel at the Global Responsible Investing Forum in New York, has been with Nuveen since the launch of its global impact investing strategy in 2012. Since then, the strategy has allocated more than $1 billion in impact investments on behalf of Nuveen’s parent company, TIAA, and other institutional investors.

In 2018 alone, Nuveen’s investments produced the following positive material impacts:

  • 176 million low income beneficiaries reached
  • 240,000 jobs supported, including 73,000 held by women
  • 152 million borrowers received access to financing – 129 million of which were low-income individuals
  • 14 million low-income patients treated across 360 hospitals and clinics
  • 1.8m metric tons of COreduced, equal to 382,000 cars taken off the road
  • 79,660 tons of waste recycled

“Today we are witnessing an unprecedented wave of capital that seeks to make a difference for both people and the planet. We are proud that Nuveen has been at the forefront of this change, offering investors access to an impressive range of impact opportunities which have the potential to generate financial returns, while at the same time supporting communities around the world,” said Vijay Advani, CEO of Nuveen and GIIN board member.

With nearly five decades of responsible investing leadership, Nuveen is committed to three principles of Responsible Investing—environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration, engagement and impact, as a means of advancing better outcomes for investors, communities and the environment.

The full report is available to download here. For more information about Nuveen’s approach to responsible investing, please visit

About Nuveen

Nuveen, the investment manager of TIAA, offers a comprehensive range of outcome-focused investment solutions designed to secure the long-term financial goals of institutional and individual investors. Nuveen has more than $1 trillion in assets under management as of September 30, 2019 and operations in 24 countries. Its investment specialists offer deep expertise across a comprehensive range of traditional and alternative investments through a wide array of vehicles and customized strategies. For more information, please visit



Mary Ellen Higgins
Nuveen Media Relations

Kara Eigl
Nuveen Media Relations
+44 (0) 20 3727.8438