SDG Impact Standards: A Significant Breakthrough for Impact Management

Discussing a new, powerful antidote to impact washing.

About this Event

Note: This program is a Live Webinar and Q&A that is accessible from any web-enabled computer or mobile device. Premium members of Impact Entrepreneur get complimentary admission to all live and archived webinars.

SDG Impact Standards: A Significant Breakthrough for Impact Management

The recent release of Impact Standards for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offers a powerful antidote to impact washing. While growing numbers of investors and entrepreneurs alike are publicly aligning their activities with the SDGs–a practice dubbed by some as SDG tagging–very few are tracking and adjusting their contribution toward achieving these SDG and other sustainable development goals. Here is where the Impact Standards developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) offers a much-needed solution.

The primary goal of the Impact Standards is to share best practices for an impact measurement and management system (IMM) that is readily adoptable by all players in the impact investing ecosystem (that seek to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs beyond financial materiality considerations. With an emphasis on long term value creation, these best practices guide internal management and decision-making processes to support informed and accountable choices that maximize impact and advance sustainable development. Adoption of this management system is necessary for closing the gap between current practice and the practices needed to achieve sustainable development outcomes through promoting continuous improvement, impact integrity, accountability and actual results.

The emergence of these Impact Standards could not have happened without development of tools, metrics, frameworks and reporting standards that preceded it. The standards provide the guidance, targets and assurance processes that aligns with and incorporates each of these aspects of robust and doable impact measurement and management.

This live webinar and audience Q&A will address how this ambitious, practical and necessary initiative:

  • breaks through the noise and confusion which is often associated with financial and non-financial materiality and IMM
  • bridges a significant gap in the current toolbox between high level principles and impact performance reporting tools and benchmarking
  • makes sense of how best to use the growing suite of impact management tools to inform decision-making and transform the way we do business and invest: a new status quo where impact on sustainable development is at the center of our daily and long term decisions.
  • offers practical opportunities for an accessible onramp to adopting the Impact Standards
  • creates certification and assurance processes for companies and funds that adopt the Impact Standards

The webinar panel features Fabienne Michaux, Director of SDG Impact at the UNDPBelissa Rojas, IMM Coordinator for the SDG Impact Standards, and Cathy Clark, Faculty Director of CASE at Duke University, who leads the development of online training for adopting the Impact Standards. Jane Reisman, a social impact advisor engaged with field building and practice of impact measurement and management, will be the guest moderator for this lively and timely discussion.

Guest Moderator

JANE REISMAN connects the dots between Impact Measurement and Management in Impact Investing and the evaluation profession. As the founder and former leader of ORS Impact, a U.S.-based evaluation and strategy firm, Jane developed a record of engaging in new frontiers and field building to scale impact. She currently works as a social impact advisor—actively leading and building field-building efforts to strengthen impact measurement and management, engaging with field leaders such as The Rockefeller Foundation, the Global Impact Investing Network, Mission Investors Exchange, the American Evaluation Association, the Impact Management Project, Social Value US, Salesforce and OECD. As a practitioner, Jane works with investors and companies to design and build impact measurement and management systems. Jane also regularly contributes to a growing body of literature and dialogues about putting impact at the center of impact investing.

Featured Guests

Named in 2014 one of the top 20 women in the USA working in philanthropy, social innovation and civic engagement, CATHY CLARK has been an active pioneer, researcher, educator and consultant for over 25 years in the fields of impact investing and social entrepreneurship. She serves as Faculty Director at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where she founded and directs the CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing and co-leads the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), an accelerator working to scale impact of global health ventures in India and East Africa. She is also lead author of CASE’s online learning series for impact entrepreneurs, CASE Smart Impact Capital, and co-author of CASE’s #ScalingPathways series, in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, USAID’s Global Development Lab and MercyCorps.

A former impact investment fund manager and private foundation program officer, who taught at Columbia Business School for 9 years before coming to Duke, Cathy’s work has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, intermediaries, and governments around the globe improve their ability to use business as a tool for good. She helped develop the standards for B Corporations, and has coordinated global research across 15 universities using data from $4.5 billion of impact assets under management and from over 11,000 impact entrepreneurs in 29 countries. Cathy was also the sole academic member of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce US National Advisory Board, and was invited to track $2.5 billion in new impact investments by the Obama White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Engagement. She is co-author of The Impact Investor: Lessons in Leadership and Strategy for Collaborative Capitalism, which reached #18 in finance textbooks on Amazon in 2014.

FABIENNE MICHAUX is Director of SDG Impact at the UNDP, helping investors and enterprises integrate impact management into decision making to optimize their contributions to the sustainable development and the SDGs. She is co-chair of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing, a board member on several non-profit boards and a part-time Professor of Practice (Finance) at Deakin Business School. She recently co-chaired the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative’s working group on making better decisions (standards, data, frameworks and tools). Fab’s experience includes 22 years with S&P Global, where in her last role she was Australian Country Head and Head of Developed Markets Asia-Pacific for the Ratings Division.

BELISSA ROJAS has over 15 years of experience in the international development sector, advising private sector organizations, impact investors, development banks, and foundations on how to professionalize their management and measurement practices. Belissa is the CEO and founder of Impacto-consulting and focuses primarily on strategic planning, general management, sustainability, and impact measurement and management. She is currently working with the UN SDGs Impact Team to advance the adoption of universally agreed upon standards for SDG- enabling investments and enterprises and catalyze private capital to further the achievement of the SDG. Belissa has extensive experience advising investors on how to measure and manage their environmental and social impacts. Her projects included working with IDB Lab on the design of an ESG & impact measurement and management (IMM) tool for early-stage ventures with the potential to generate impact on a large scale, assessing ES Risk reporting best practices for DFIs, co-leading an initiative to support venture capital funds in the development of their IMM practices with IMP Impact Frontiers initiative, among others. She is also leading an initiative with On Think Tanks (OTT) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to bring cross-sector knowledge, policy, and economic expertise from local think tanks to the impact investing industry in Latin America and Africa.

Previously, Belissa was a Strategy & Monitoring Senior Specialist at IDB Invest, where she led the design and implementation of IDB Invest’s Impact Management Framework post due diligence and was responsible for the impact oversight of its operations—investments and loans. She was responsible for overseeing and leading the reporting of a portfolio of +250 operations valued at approx. US$11 billion. While at IDB Invest, she also led the design and launch of the Impact Lessons Learned site, which included an evaluation of IDB Invest’s entire portfolio, independent verification of all final evaluations, and identification of best practices. She won two corporate awards for her contributions in strengthening IDB Invest’s Impact Management Framework.Prior to this work, Belissa was the Counselor for Peru and Chile at the Board of Executive Directors of the IDB Group.

Impact Entrepreneur’s Building an Impact Economy Webinar Series features leading experts in the fields of impact entrepreneurship and investing.

Location: Virtual

Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021