Sir Ronald Cohen is Chair of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) and has pioneered impact investing initiatives for environmental and social good for nearly 20 years. In this article he outlines how the Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative, a impact measurement project he chairs and is led by Harvard Business School, can increase transparency on companies' impacts.
Greater impact transparency enables shareholders to make investment decisions, within comparable impact standards, on companies' environmental and social impact. Recently, two-thirds of Procter and Gamble's shareholders voted for the company to issue a report to show its efforts on eliminating deforestation in producing consumer goods such as toilet paper and tissues.
At the government level, Cohen recommends introducing impact transparency by President Biden's administration can align the goals of investors, companies and governments towards a more sustainable planet.
Measuring environmental impact, compared to social impact, is often seen as more "scientific" due to the greater availability of data and is easier to assign an impact dollar value. Despite the global market placing an increasing importance on the dollar value of impact investments this may not be strictly needed and depends on the intended outcomes of the impact investment.
What are your views and experiences of measuring impact investments? Please share in the comments section.