A new collaboration has been launched that aims to mainstream effective impact management by enterprises and investors, saying that a growing number of initiatives supporting different aspects of this practice had been difficult for organisations to navigate.

At the same time “with the climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic demonstrating the fundamental interdependencies between markets and sustainability issues, the urgency to build a coherent and complete system of principles, standards and guidance for how to improve sustainability impacts has never been greater,” according to those involved in the collaboration – the Impact Management Platform.

In the eyes of those involved in the Platform, there has been major progress towards mandatory investor-focussed sustainability disclosure globally, “but there is more to do”.

“Managing sustainability impacts involves multiple actions of which disclosure to meet the needs of capital markets is one part,” an overview of the Platform states.

The launch of the platform follows that of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). The Platform said it provided a complementary forum “for the broader task of supporting practitioners to manage their sustainability impacts”.

An array of organisations are behind the Platform, such as B Lab, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, the Global Reporting Initiative, the Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative at Harvard Business School, and the Principles for Responsible Investment.

The steering committee brings together the International Finance Corporation, the OECD, and several UN organisations, who are also providing technical advice to the ISSB.

Investment view coming up

The Platform represents the next phase of a collaboration that was until now facilitated by the Impact Management Project, a five-year consensus-building forum designed to run until 2021. Most of the Platform’s founding partners worked together as part of a structured network facilitated by the Impact Management Project, a timebound consensus-building forum that ran from 2016 to 2021.

Those involved in the new collaboration say that, through the Platform they aspire to clarify the meaning and practice of impact management; work towards interoperability and fill gaps as needed; and have coordinated dialogue, as appropriate, with policymakers.

The Platform website currently already includes guidance for all types of organisation, whether corporate or a financial institution, and an “investment view” section is due to be released next year.

According to the website, this will set out a set of actions to outline “the fundamentals of impact management that are common to any investor providing capital to a single company or asset, or to a portfolio of companies or assets”.

According to the Platform these actions “will also note how investment actions interact with the actions of investee organisations themselves”.

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