Harnessing new trends and approaches in impact management

Venue: British International Investment (BII), 123 Victoria Street. London SW1E 6DE. United Kingdom


  • Background:

Over the past couple of years, HIPSO’s menu of metrics has increased from 38 to 150 plus fit-for-purpose sector and thematic indicators, to match the ever-growing need of our members and partners. The partnership has recently finalized and enhanced metrics for the health & education, and agribusiness sectors; and added digital and disruptive technologies indicators to its catalog.

Beyond the metrics, HIPSO continues to nurture a culture of sharing knowledge and learning amongst its partners to include: impact management systems, theories of change, external reporting, data collection processes and more. Most importantly there is great value in comparing notes and trying to narrow down our differences and achieve better understanding of the common challenges that the DFIs have been facing in impact measurement for private sector operations.

Also, there is crucial need to have a platform for in-depth discussions among practitioners on cutting-edge impact evaluation methods and techniques used to assess private sector operations. This would include sharing knowledge and experiences in applying a variety of rigorous methodologies - traditional and new cutting-edge, to assess projects since early stages (ex- ante), as well as to gather evidence and manage results throughout implementation and at completion to promote learning and accountability.

Given the context above, the objectives and expected outcomes of the event are:

  • Objectives of the meeting:

(i) Focused discussions on trends and new developments in selected sectors and thematic areas for example in the financial sector, and jobs; (ii) report back on the efforts made to strengthen the depth and coverage of the HIPSO indicators; (iii) understand the extent to which the new HIPSO metrics have been implemented by member institutions, for example in scorecards in an effort to enhance common reporting and learning. This includes discussing the challenges impeding the use of the metrics; (iv) compare notes and learn from traditional and cutting-edge methodologies used for impact evaluation and assessment studies; and (v) discuss ways to deepen collaboration efforts with private sector partners for example with GIIN.

  • Expected outcomes:
  • Common understanding of the trends and new developments in various sectors and thematic areas.
  • Better understanding and assessment of the extent to which new metrics are being used in DFIs’ impact frameworks.
  • Sharing knowledge on traditional and innovative approaches to results measurement and impact evaluation for private sector operations.
  • Strengthened partnership and cooperation amongst HIPSO members and private sector partners.

EBRD and ICD to co-host the 2023 HIPSO Annual Meeting

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) will co-host the 2023 Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations (HIPSO) Annual Meeting at the EBRD headquarters in London on March 13th -15th. During this meeting, HIPSO members will reconnect in-person after the COVID pandemic to provide updates on members’ institutional and strategic thinking as well as recent development with regards to impact management; report on the efforts made to strengthen the depth and coverage of the HIPSO metrics from the works streams on indicators;  and understand the extent to which the new HIPSO metrics have been implemented by member institutions, in order to enhance common reporting and learning.

Additionally members will share knowledge around recent DFIs approaches to strengthen impact management approaches, measurement of outcomes and market creation, as well as external results communication; compare notes and learn from traditional and cutting-edge methodologies used for evaluation studies.


Platform for common impact management approaches, and knowledge sharing

Virtual Meeting: Webex


The 2020 HIPSO Annual meeting provided an opportunity for members to share ideas on how HIPSO could explore opportunities as a robust platform for common impact management approaches, and knowledge sharing.

Some of these opportunities include enhancing the scope of work of the HIPSO Work Streams as a community of practice that goes beyond metrics development to include activities that focus on: (i) sharing knowledge around  common impact reporting approaches and tools to improve the efficiency of collecting and reporting data from our clients/investees; (ii) tapping into the knowledge from sector/thematic area experts to enhance the robustness of products delivered by the streams (iii) learning from data collected from our clients to enable the continuous fine-tuning of the indicators; and (iv) impact management thought leadership.

It was also agreed that HIPSO would partner with other private sector players for example impact investors to cross-fertilize and learn from each other around metrics development and impact management frameworks.  HIPSO would also partner with other standard setting initiatives for enhanced convergence towards common impact metrics and underlying methodologies.

HIPSO’s activities for 2021 also included the setting up of other work streams - health and education and agribusiness, to revisit and enhance the current HIPSO indicator sets for these sectors.

Objective of the meeting:

On Day 1, the objective is to engage in dialogue to cross-fertilize and exchange knowledge with a wider audience beyond the HIPSO members. This year’s discussions would therefore provide overviews of other standard setting partner initiatives, and impact investors activities around impact management. Additionally, there would be discussions around the current HIPSO metrics architecture, and an overview of the position paper for measuring development investment outcomes for impact investing.

On Day 2, a panel discussion would take place in regards to enhancing and maximizing the role of HIPSO as a platform for common impact measurement approaches, and knowledge sharing.

Also, on Day 2 HIPSO members would discuss topical issues around results management approaches and tools stemming from the Work Streams’ activities, to include: approaches and tools for measuring climate and environment impacts; collecting and utilizing gender disaggregated data from financial intermediaries; intricacies of impact management for job quality and indirect jobs; digitalization trends during COVID-19 and beyond. Additionally, on Day 2, an overview of the HIPSO collaboration space and SDG dashboard would be provided.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 -- Knowledge Sharing Webinar: Connecting with Signatories to the Impact Principles

Virtual Meeting


  • Background:

During the various Operating Principles for Impact Measurement workshops held since the launch in 2019s, a number of private sector Signatories expressed a desire to leverage the two complementary sets of metrics, HIPSO and IRIS+ for the implementation of the Impact Principles and other impact management initiatives.

The HIPSO members worked closely with the GIIN to develop a common minimum yet robust set of indicators in the areas of gender, jobs, and environment and climate, and are targeting other sectors, for example financial inclusion and infrastructure.

To this effect, in order to facilitate and develop metrics that are fit for purpose, with their relevant guidance, the HIPSO Steering Group established Work Streams comprised of thematic area experts and practitioners in early 2020. The current work streams include: (i) thematic areas: environment and social; gender; and jobs; (ii) sector/sub-sector focus: infrastructure services; and financial intermediation; and (iii) the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The rigorous metric development exercise by HIPSO members in the HIPSO Work Streams, culminated into the Joint Impact Indicators (JII) and their publication in March this year. Guidance notes around the applicability/usability of the metrics have also been drafted, to ensure a good level of alignment in the application of the JII by the users. The JII are housed in IRIS+ and HIPSO website, and are managed by HIPSO and the GIIN.

Beyond the JII, HIPSO Work Streams have developed and continue to develop metrics at the thematic and sector levels that could be leveraged by the Impact Principles’ Signatories and the broader impact investing market.

These work streams have also become a valuable platform for collaboration on knowledge sharing on topical issues amongst DFIs, GIIN and Impact Principles’ Signatories, and other private sector players.

  • Objective of the meeting:
  • Establishing robust linkages with the Signatories from the private sector and exploring ways for further collaboration on impact measurement metrics and standards.
  • Engage and exchange knowledge with private sector Signatories to the Impact Principles on the guidance and applicability of the metrics selected for the JII.
  • Sharing an overview of other sector metrics that are currently being developed such as in areas like financial intermediation.
  • Share the thinking on the additional metrics related to the current JII, for example, around job quality.

March 16, 2021: Leading Impact Investors Make Progress Toward Harmonized Impact Measurement with Release of Joint Indicators

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), and a group of leading impact investors announced today the launch of the Joint Impact Indicators (JII), a set of high-level indicators that impact investors can use to measure and report on their investment activities. This harmonized set of indicators will help further promote the fast-growing market for impact investing, which has the potential to channel $26 trillion into investments that have a positive social, economic, and environmental impact, alongside financial returns. The JII has been endorsed by leading impact investors and associations that have called for others to join them in using these indicators.

JII is a set of impact indicators – starting with gender, jobs, and climate – aligned between the Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations (HIPSO) and the IRIS Catalogue of Metrics, the two impact indicator sets used by most impact investors.

"These indicators are testament to the excellent leadership, technical expertise, and strong collaboration of all partners involved," said Issa Faye, Director of Sector Economics and Development Impact, IFC. "While we recognize there is much work to be done to fully harmonize impact measurement and reporting, this is an important step forward for the industry."

Institutions adopting the JII are signaling their intent to use these indicators and participate in a broader conversation that builds on the harmonization effort. This is a first step toward identifying a core set of indicators that can help define a minimum scope for impact measurement and reporting for all impact investors. ​

"Rigorous, credible impact measurement and management are fundamental to the integrity of the impact investment market," said Amit Bourit, CEO of the GIIN. "The JII – which complements IRIS+ Core Metric Sets – will increase the understanding of impact performance. Once investors adopt common indicators, the industry can move in the direction of comparability of impact investments, so they can know what will generate the greatest impact. This is crucial, because the challenges the world faces are far too urgent for capital to underperform."

The JII will help reduce reporting burden on investee companies and increase the availability of comparable impact data to inform decision-making. By setting clear and common indicators, the JII will help capture the economic, social, and environmental impacts of investments, allowing investors to improve their effectiveness, transparency, and accountability.

This approach is in line with the Operating Principles for Impact Management launched in 2019 and already adopted by nearly 120 financial institutions from 30 countries managing over $360bn in impact assets

Operating Principles for Impact Management

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is the global champion of impact investing, dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing around the world. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate positive, measurable, social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon investors' objectives. The GIIN builds critical infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research that help accelerate the development of a coherent impact investing industry. For more information, please visit www.thegiin.org.​

IRIS+ is the generally accepted system for impact investors to measure, manage, and optimize their impact. This comprehensive system makes it easier for investors to translate their impact intentions into real impact results. IRIS+ provides investors with access to Core Metrics Sets to increase data clarity and comparability across portfolios, is aligned to other frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and provides practical, how-to guidance and resources—all in one easy-to-navigate system.

The broad range of structures, mandates and shareholders of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) working with the private sector means that there are many different systems used to track development results. However, many DFIs share the same clients or invest in the same sectors, but previously required clients to report their activities based on different sets of criteria. The Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations (HIPSO) represent the collective agreement of 28 DFIs originated in 2008 to standardize indicators and relieve clients from the unintended burden deriving from the DFIs' different reporting requirements, including similar indicators (with different definitions) meant to capture the same data. Today, HIPSO indicators are widely used by DFIs, impact investors, and other development partners. The metrics are also in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

30th November - December 1st , 2020: HIPSO 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting

Context for the meeting

Background: The 2019 HIPSO Annual meeting provided a platform for rich discussions on wide ranging development impact issues, in addition to facilitating the revamping of the HIPSO initiative. During this meeting, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) widely expressed a desire to broaden and enhance the scope of the HIPSO by adding thematic and sector/sub-sector level to include indicators for: gender, jobs, and environment and climate, in addition to financial intermediation and infrastructure services metrics.

In addition, other action items discussed included: HIPSO metrics alignment with the SDGs; and closer alignment between HIPSO and IRIS, and leverage the two complementary sets of metrics for the implementation of the impact measurement principles;

The discussions also focused on enhancing collaboration, learning and knowledge sharing opportunities amongst HIPSO members.

To take action on the aforementioned items, the 2019/2020 HIPSO Work Plan was put into effect, and over the past months the thematic and sector level HIPSO Work Streams have been used as platform to add and/or revise the indicators. Additionally, the SDG and IRIS/HIPSO Streams have served as conduits for the drafting of the HIPSO Alignment with the SDG Note, and the closer alignment between HIPSO and IRIS, respectively.

Objective of the meeting:  To update the Whole Group and Observer Group on the new/revised HIPSO metrics. Also, the note on HIPSO’s alignment with the SDGs would be discussed. In addition, other topics would be reflected upon including: the positioning of  HIPSO in the evolving development impact space; the revision/addition of metrics for other sectors/sub-sectors;  and common reporting templates.

April 14 th , 2020: ILX Fund becomes the 4 th member of the HIPSO Observer Group.

January 2 nd , 2020: International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) becomes the 27 th  DFI to be a party to the HIPSO MoU.

December 3 rd , 2019: The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) becomes the 3 rd member of the HIPSO Observer Group.

30 th  September - October 1 st , 2019: HIPSO 2019 Annual Meeting, Madrid, Spain
Context for the meeting

: The 2018 HIPSO Annual meeting provided a platform for rich discussions on wide ranging development impact issues, in addition to facilitating the revamping of the HIPSO initiative. During this meeting, one of the fundamental discussion points revolved around the usage of the current metrics by member institutions, and there was a general view from Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to revisit/revise the HIPSO metrics given the shift in focus/priority areas for DFIs, in addition to the adjustment of their results measurement systems.

As a follow-up to these discussions, a survey for the Whole Group was launched earlier on
this year, and an analysis was done to assess the extent to which the metrics should be
revised. Based on the Whole Group’s feedback and discussions, DFIs widely expressed a
desire to broaden and enhance the scope of HIPSO by adding sector/cross-sector
indicators, and those that capture market-level effects, in addition to adding increasingly
significant thematic indicators for example climate mitigation/adaptation, and inclusiveness (underserved - women, youth, and rural populations etc.).

  • Objective of the meeting:  Using the survey recommendations as a basis, the main objective of the meeting is for DFIs to compare notes and to discuss the
    revised/additional indicators that they suggest being included in HIPSO based on their respective institution’s development impact assessment systems. Additionally, there will be updates provided on the progress of other related topics e.g. HIPSO metrics alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is critical given the amplified role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs, hence an increased emphasis for DFIs to report on their contributions towards the global SDG agenda; and how we can leverage the revised HIPSO indicators to provide a common understanding about what constitutes good practice in results measurement, to complement the Impact Principles with a more consistent approach in the implementation of the measurement aspects of the Principles. See Agenda here

October 11-12 th , 2018: HIPSO 2018 Annual Meeting, Thessaloniki, Greece

Based on the Whole Group’s feedback and discussions, we agreed that the use of HIPSO
indicators among participating DFIs has helped to reduce reporting costs for clients, who
previously endured an unintended burden from the DFIs’ different reporting requirements, and they have served as platform for knowledge sharing among DFIs and for the development of other linkages, for example to the IRIS catalog.

We now have an opportunity to build on the success of the HIPSO indicators to serve as a
foundation for a new agenda, given the new opportunities and challenges in the development landscape for HIPSO DFIs. See agenda here.

October 10 th , 2018: Council of European Development Bank (CEB) becomes the 26 th  DFI to be a party to the HIPSO MoU.

September 24 th , 2018: Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) becomes the 2 nd member of the HIPSO Observer Group.

September 3 rd , 2018: Mastercard Foundation becomes the 1 st member of the HIPSO
Observer Group.

Photo Courtesy of NORFUND