Featured GIIN Publication

Evaluating Impact Performance

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

Data Collection is open! The GIIN is committed to further strengthening and refining the analytics presented in these reports and data dashboards. If you’re an impact investor with allocations to climate change mitigation, quality jobs, financial services, clean energy, or agriculture, please reach out to impactperformance@thegiin.org to participate. You can also directly contribute your impact performance data here.


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. The GIIN has built on these efforts and in October 2020, released two additional installments of reports focused on understanding impact performance in the agriculture and financial inclusion sectors. Learn more >

In the 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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