Featured GIIN Publication

Evaluating Impact Performance

Global Impact Investing Network October 2, 2019 Rachel Bass, Noshin Nova, Sophia Sunderji

Data Collection is Open for the GIIN’s next installment of impact performance studies! These will be focused on Agriculture and Financial Inclusion. If you’re an impact investor in these sectors, please reach out to research@thegiin.org to participate!


The impact investing industry has matured significantly in recent years to the point that investors expect rigorous impact measurement and management practices to be part of an impact investing approach. Yet, impact investors continue to identify transparency in impact performance as a key challenge facing the market.

In an effort to address this gap, the GIIN is offering Evaluating Impact Performance. This report presents a new approach for rigorously comparing impact results among investments within a sector, marking an important first step in enabling investors to make these comparisons in a meaningful and transparent way. As the industry’s first collaborative effort to create a clear, thorough approach to comparing impact results, this study paves the way for impact performance data to parallel financial performance data in investment-decision making.

In this first installment, the report aggregates investment-level data to demonstrate the comparability of impact results within two sectors: clean energy access and housing. Specifically, this research effort addressed: 1) whether it is possible to aggregate and compare impact performance data to generate insights, and 2) if so, what social and environmental results are associated with impact investors’ activity?

Key Takeaways:

  • Impact investments can be rigorously compared based on impact. As this effort continues to scale, impact considerations can and should be integrated more fully into investment screening, diligence, and management. Investments can be evaluated based on their impact and their impact performance can be managed.
  • Context is critical to interpreting impact results in a robust and reliable way. Impact performance varies based on impact objectives, target stakeholders, geography, product or service, and investment features of the investment. In order to compare results in a meaningful way, this context is woven into the approach.

Learn more about evaluating impact performance in clean energy access and housing by downloading each sector-specific chapter to the right:

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