The last decade has seen a distinct mainstream shift towards responsible investments that address critical social needs and environmental challenges in addition to achieving financial returns. The growing global push towards sustainability means that measuring and communicating impact has become increasingly important for all entities aimed at achieving social and/or environmental goals.

However despite the escalating emphasis on impact measurement, the concept itself remains clouded in uncertainty.  Management guru Peter Drucker’s wisdom, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ rings true for the impact investing space. Therefore, I spent years after my banking days learning and then creating the most effective way to assess and measure impact that can go hand in hand with capital raise.

Despite the interest and excitement around impact investing, impact assessments (which is an integral part of impact investing) continue to be plagued by a multitude of misconceptions, often perceived to be either too complex or too vague to be worth the effort. Impact assessments form the core of what we do here at Shujog, and we are frequently faced with questions like:

  • What does social impact even mean?
  • What is an impact assessment and how does it work?
  • Do impact assessments hold any value beyond academia and idealism?
  • How do you attach a dollar value to social outcomes?
  • Is it possible to be rigorous and standardized when quantifying something as subjective as social value?

Given all these questions still in the market, I am starting a weekly blog series where my colleagues and I will aim to answer these questions and clear up the confusion cloaking impact assessments in the process. In upcoming weeks, we will break down the jargon, shed light on the assessment process, discuss key trends and challenges, all while providing a practitioners viewpoint of what it takes to measure social impact in Asia. Stay tuned…

 

Durreen Shahnaz
IIX Founder & Managing Director
Originally published on www.linkedin.com