First benchmark will assess the impact of investments on financial inclusion.
The Global Investing Impact Network (GIIN) has this week launched the first in a series of new benchmarks to help investors assess and compare the impact-related performance of their investments against peers.
Hosted on GIIN’s impact management platform IRIS+, the beta Financial Inclusion Impact Performance Benchmark aims to provide data across a set of KPIs to assess financial opportunities, resilience and economic development within the financial services sector. It will be followed by other impact benchmarks that will further provide investors with decision-useful data across sectors to inform their impact investing strategies.
The next impact benchmarks will cover the agriculture and energy sectors, GIIN said.
The launch is in response to a growing shift amongst asset owners from investing to mitigate ESG-related risks towards investing to make a positive impact. The fifth edition of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance’s biennial review highlighted that US$35.2 in assets was being managed under impacting investing strategies, an increase from US$24.8 billion in 2026.
In January, GIIN research noted that investors are struggling to procure the impact data they need to determine the real-world outcomes associated with their investments. Further, a report by the International Finance Corporation highlighted that just a quarter of the US$2.3 trillion impact market in 2020 operated under a clear impact management system.
The benchmark was developed in collaboration with 13 asset managers which invest – through debt and equity – in financial service providers across emerging and developed markets. It is currently available to asset owners and managers which are members of IRIS+.
GIIN’s benchmarks will allow users to assess the effectiveness of their investments against global goals, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are commonly targeted by investors with impact investing strategies.
GIIN’s existing COMPASS methodology also gives practical examples of how investors can measure their impact across the SDGs, such as measuring the percentage change in the number of people accessing clean water in a region compared to the previous year to track progress against SDG 6.1 (universal access to clean water).
“Our goal is for impact performance benchmarks to play the same role that financial benchmarks play in investing, which is to create a mechanism by which investors can push themselves to achieve superior performance,” said Amit Bouri, CEO and Co-Founder of GIIN.
“We want every investor waking up every day thinking about how they can deliver more impact, whether that is in their local communities or around the world,” he added.
Other impact-focused organisations have been working on solutions to help investors access the impact data they need to direct investments more effectively.
Launched in November 2021, the Impact Management Platform was developed to improve cohesion between existing standards and support impact-related dialogue between the investment industry and policymakers. It was coordinated by the Impact Management Project, a five-year consensus-building forum that ended its operations last year.
The platform hosts impact measurement and reporting resources provided by standards-setters and frameworks, including the SDGs.
Building on the Impact Management Project’s work, last year the 2° Investing Initiative consulted on and created the Climate Impact Management System, which provides investors with guidelines on how to devise, refine and communicate about impactful climate strategies.