Even as impact investing has expanded from a niche strategy into a $500 billion global industry in recent years, it is still relatively young. The industry’s continued growth will rely in part on ensuring a consistent and effective method of impact measurement, especially as investors start demanding information about exactly how their dollars are moving the needle on the issues they target.
But standardizing this piece of the impact investing process is far from simple. From the unique complexity of each initiative to the variety of players proposing solutions, industry alignment has been difficult to achieve—and the high stakes mean development cannot be rushed.
Data has become an integral component of investment decisions, and impact investing is no exception. It’s impossible to know whether an investment is effectively delivering impact without measuring and recording its progress.
This is why investors need reliable, standardized data.
Sophisticated investors use this information to make decisions about specific investments as well as to inform their overall strategy, with the goal of feeling confident that they’re realizing the greatest possible impact with their capital. From a bigger-picture perspective, impact measurement paired with thoughtful reporting builds industry knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. In turn, well-designed reporting illustrates the progress made toward tangible outcomes and helps raise the industry’s profile.
Despite the growing consensus around the need for uniform data, efforts to standardize remain fragmented.
With the Project Output - Impact Measurement Guidelines - our aim is to provide a concise and comprehensive guide for investors and mentors on the various alternatives and frameworks for measuring the impact of their investment and activities.
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Partners @i2 SustainIT
On 19 October 2020 all partners in the Impact Incubator for Nurturing Sustainability - i2 SustainIT project gathered online for the 2nd project meeting which due to Covid-19 had to be organised virtually, hosted by the project partner from Bulgaria: CEED Bulgaria and supported by Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC). The rest of the project partners: EPN Consulting, IDEC, Worldview Impact Foundation and Creative District participated virtually from UK, Greece and Belgium. The project has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union for its 2-years' implementation.
Each partner had the chance to talk about the impact investment and sustainability ecosystem in their country whereas many case studies encouraged interesting discussions comparing the ecosystems in a variety of European regions. Furthermore, the main topic discussed was related to the current situation in each country and the risk management and mitigation plan which is of paramount importance to have the flexibility of adapting quickly to any possible challenges arising due to the pandemic.
The meeting was also focused on discussions about the project management activities led by EPN Consulting; dissemination strategy, financial and administration details. All partners agreed on next steps and the evaluation and quality assurance framework for the project. Another aspect touched during the meeting was about the 3rd meeting supposed to take place in Greece along with the 1st training under the project.
Moreover, CEED Bulgaria which is leading the 1st Intellectual Output of the project - Impact Measurement Guide (IMGuide), presented its structure, tools and each partner's role for supporting its development. Additionally, the project partners had a discussion on the output framework and suggestions for the content of the model and the main concepts, as well as previous and ongoing Erasmus+ projects related to the main topic of i2 SustainIT.
KISMC also opened the floor for discussion on the 2nd Intellectual Output - Design Thinking for Impact Incubation Toolkit (DTi2 Toolkit) and relevant updates to share with the partners. IDEC updated the consortium with progress on the 4th Intellectual Output - Digital Impact Incubator Platform (Di2 Platform).
During each meeting all partners aim to have a proactive catch up on the dissemination activities led by Creative District.
To learn more about the project, check our first blog article for the kick off of i2 SustainIT project: Impact Incubator for Nurturing Sustainability' Virtual Project Kick Off from London [i2 SustainIT].
Partners @i2 SustainIT
'Impact Incubator for Nurturing Sustainability' Virtual Project Kick Off from London, UK [i2 SustainIT]
On 16-17 June 2020 the i2 SustainIT project kicked off with a meeting virtually hosted from London, UK. All partners – the project coordinator EPN Consulting and the project partners KISMC, CEED Bulgaria, IDEC, Worldview Impact Foundation and Creative District – launched Impact Incubator for Nurturing Sustainability - i2 SustainIT [Project No. 2019-1-UK01-KA204-061873].
The project has been successful in the Erasmus+ call in 2019 and consequently co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union for its 2-years' implementation. Erasmus+ is the European Union’s (EU) programme for education, training, youth and sport, with the EU committing £12 billion to the programme between 2014 and 2020.
During the virtual kick off meeting all partners discussed their previous experience in the topics of impact investment and sustainability and agreed on an agenda that would focus on producing quality intellectual outputs that would assist all stakeholders in the impact investment and social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
What is i2 SustainIT?
The Impact Incubator for Nurturing Sustainability [i2 SustainIT] project inspires more connectivity in the social and environmental ecosystem through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The project's duration is 2 years, to be completed in the end of September 2021 with an Impact Investment & Sustainability Conference.
Although the project has a set end date for its implementation under the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, we are firmly willing to continue contributing to this topic by using i2 SustainIT as an already established network and community to create social value and assist finding solutions to the world’s problem our society faces.
The i2 SustainIT is a continuation of another project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme. The project is BASET – Boost Aid for Social Entrepreneurship through Training with the overall objective to foster social entrepreneurship in Europe through elaborating, testing and providing a set of learning and training instruments to a large group of social entrepreneurship trainers/educators.
The rationale behind continuing BASET is the realisation that such a project focused on social entrepreneurship aiming to provide a higher-scale of impact, will need a more sustainable approach and additional set of instruments to assist educators and investors; in the i2 SustainIT project – mentors and investors. i2 SustainIT focuses on the fact that all target groups need to better communicate with each other and express their needs accordingly, and also that impact investment and sustainability are under-explored topics with significant added value to tackling social and environmental challenges.
In the next section you can read more information about the project's objectives, methodology, results, impact and learn more about the partners involved in this exciting project which will contribute to the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Europe and beyond.