The majority of large businesses and asset managers today produce annual sustainability reports about their positive social and environmental initiatives. However, the measurements they use are inconsistent and often difficult for investors to analyse and compare.
What is needed is better data that clearly shows both positive and negative business impacts, challenging industry and investors to move beyond the desire not to do harm and embrace the ambition to do good. The result will be investment actively and intentionally channelled into areas where it can have the greatest positive benefits.
The ITF’s work is moving us towards a world in which investment decisions are thoroughly informed by the triple lens of risk, return, and impact. Without transparency, harmonisation and integrity, impact financing cannot reach its full potential to create a better world, nor can it be held properly accountable.
The ITF’s aim is to give investors the power to compare the impact of investments and trigger a race to the top. Central recommendations include:
- Supporting the International Sustainability Standards Board in the creation of a global reporting baseline on impact related to enterprise value
- Building on that baseline to include impacts on stakeholders
- Mandatory impact accounting for businesses and investors to harmonised standards
- Supporting work to improve impact valuation methodology
Financing a better world requires impact transparency, integrity and harmonisation.
Greater transparency on impact, harmonised disclosure standards and better data for decision-making are the foundational elements needed to catalyse private capital at scale for people and planet.
“With COP26 and the COVID pandemic highlighting the climate emergency and global inequalities, harnessing private capital at scale for public good is more important than ever. The world is at a tipping point – the Taskforce has come together to develop actionable recommendations to catalyse measurable, positive environmental and social outcomes with a focus on impact transparency, integrity and trust – and financial vehicles that can deliver impact through investments across the globe.
Two Rivers Associates Limited
“Impact investment is at a crossroads – the choices we make today will determine the long-term viability of the sector. Our report provides actionable recommendations to increase transparency in impact reporting, enhance integrity of impact metrics, and promote harmonization across impact standards.”
“As a member of the taskforce, we are pleased to help design new standards that will lift impact investing to the scale required to tackle the greatest challenges of the day. Impact investing can unlock the power of the capital markets to take on issues in the environment, education, or health. We look forward to the day when impact investments are a standard part of every portfolio, building a healthier, smarter, greener planet.”
President of UBS Asset Management
“We are at a transformational moment in the investment sector. While investors once focused only on profits, we are now at a new juncture where we need to go a step further. The world needs more purpose-driven companies which are dedicated to driving profits whilst benefiting society, because profit, people and planet are completely interwoven. Effective impact investing with globally agreed standards are vital to achieving this and the Taskforce is bringing a vast array of expertise to develop opportunities which make a real difference for good.”
“Impact investing enables individual and institutional investors to unlock capital to finance projects which are delivering real and tangible benefits for our planet and society. We’re in a pivotal decade. We need urgent climate action and we need to take bold steps to close the gap between the rich and poor, which has only grown as a result of COVID-19. The outcomes-led nature of impact investing is an effective tool with the potential to effect real change.”
“Nowadays GAAP can explain only less than 50% of corporate value. Vast majority of enterprise value is attributed to intangibles, ESG and impact. Hence we rely on investors in a bid to monetize and materialize it via harnessing capital market. This taskforce is well positioned to offer the key to success. Impact measurement! For example, I provided Eisai’s Employment Impact as 1st case of IWA in Japan. If we want to tout impact, let’s prove it!”
“The events of the past two years underscore the urgent need for equitable and sustainable growth for all economies. We need to direct capital to those organizations that prioritize supporting people, the planet, and society broadly. Clear and consistent reporting standards are one way to get there by providing transparency for all stakeholders and better insights for impact investors on the long-term value companies create.“
Global Public Policy Vice Chair
“We must collaborate to close the gap between aspiration and action on climate change and fractures in society. Business must play its role and be transparent and accountable.
The IFRS Foundation’s new International Sustainability Standards Board is a giant leap to achieving a baseline of consistent, comparable information needed by capital markets. But we must not stop here. We need a comprehensive system that redefines the social contract between business and society and addresses reporting to stakeholders on broader impacts.”
Deloitte UK & Global IFRS and Corporate Reporting Leader
“Global warming, pollution, social inequity, and imbalanced development between countries have reached an unprecedented level. To achieve sustainable and fair development, the international community, particularly the G20 economies must work together. Resources must be channelled towards economic restructuring with less negative, more positive environmental and societal impacts. This report prioritizes action and sets the principles for impact investment and reporting, which should guide stakeholders to allocate their resources in a way aligned with the future that we all want.”
Prof. Weiguo Zhang
Former Board Member
IASB & Former Regulator at China Securities Regulatory Commission
“The efficient frontier in portfolio management is increasingly being defined by the intersection of risk, return and impact. It is essential that there is a globally coordinated effort to create transparency around impact measures, as well as to harmonize impact definitions and metrics, be they environmental or social. In doing so, the integrity of what is measured and reported is critical. This requires local context and broad stakeholder alignment for impact to be meaningful and create true systems change. The Impact Taskforce (ITF) will catalyze a globally coordinated effort to make impact investing mainstream and we need political leaders, policymakers, regulators, standard setters, investors and investment managers to all be aligned for this to occur. I am proud to have been part of the ITF and truly believe it will accelerate global efforts to incorporate environmental and social impact in the way we allocate capital.”
Old Mutual Investment Group
"At their core, capital markets exist to improve our well-being. Sadly, in the financialisation of our world over the past few decades we have seen markets become largely self-serving. This initiative of the G7 is part of a global movement to bring back the underlying purpose of capital markets. It does this by identifying ways for our system to leverage the significant volume of financial capital in the world to make a positive difference. Our society needs those who allocate capital be mindful of the footprint that they leave. It will only be through their efforts, together with governments and the community sector, that we will be able to properly confront the social and environmental challenges that we face."
“On our own, we can effect change for ourselves and our organizations, but together we can catalyze the systemic change we need to put our economies on a more inclusive and sustainable path. The Impact Taskforce (ITF) did just that by bringing together insights from across the business, public policy, and academic worlds, and translating those into a very specific call to action to change how we understand—and account for-- value creation. This is the systemic change we need.”
Mary Karol Cline
Senior Policy Advisor, Geostrategic Business Group
Prof. Ngaire Woods
Blavatnik School of Government-University of OxfordFind out more »