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A new system for impact investing


20 May 2019 at 4:20 pm
Maggie Coggan
A revamped rating system to measure impact has launched in a bid to simplify what investors should measure, and translate impact intentions into real results.


Maggie Coggan | 20 May 2019 at 4:20 pm


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A new system for impact investing
20 May 2019 at 4:20 pm

A revamped rating system to measure impact has launched in a bid to simplify what investors should measure, and translate impact intentions into real results.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) released the IRIS+ on Thursday and said it addressed “pain points” of impact investing such as what investors should measure, making sense of all the impact management products available and how to measure and manage impact.

The IRIS has been operated by the GIIN for over a decade, offering investors a catalogue of impact performance metrics that gave investors the option to pick the metrics that suited them.

The new system is interoperable with over 50 impact frameworks, standards, methodology and assessment tools.

GIIN director Sapna Shah told Pro Bono News this was important because it would guide investors on how to achieve real outcomes, no matter what kind of management framework was being used.

“Comparable metrics are the foundation to understanding impact performance,” Shah said.

“So if you’re an investor looking to increase access to clean energy, IRIS+ will give you the metrics that you should use to understand your performance and the resources you need to get started.”  

The first version of IRIS was criticised by some in the impact investing sector due to a lack of focus on real-world benefits that most impact investors were working towards.

Amanda Miller, the co-founder of Impact Generation Partners, told Pro Bono News it would be useful if the updated version could provide guidance on how to measure net impact and show investors how to link measurement of impact with the Sustainable Development Goals.    

“A tool such as the IRIS+ should help the impact investing community by providing practical evidence-based metrics and frameworks for impact measurement and management that are straightforward to use and apply,” Miller said.  

“This should help both those in enterprises that are creating impact and those investing in these enterprises.”  

Shah said that ease of use was a “must-have” when designing the IRIS+, which is why investors could now choose core metrics by impact theme or SDG.

“Investors can navigate to the metrics pack they need from the starting point that’s most relevant to them – whether that’s an impact theme like affordable housing or a Sustainable Development Goal,” Shah said.  

Amit Bouri, CEO of the GIIN, said it was a huge leap forward for the industry and would drive even greater impact performance.  

“The challenges the world is facing are too urgent for impact capital to underperform,” Bouri said.

Simon O’Connor, the CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia told Pro Bono News the release of the updated system was timely, as investors ranging from super funds to trusts and foundations explored how they could best measure and report on the impacts of their investment decisions.  

“Investors are now looking for measurement frameworks and taxonomies which can help them better understand, manage and report on the type of contribution they are making, including towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” O’Connor said.  

The IRIS+ is available for free via GIIN here.


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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