A broad group of sustainability standards and guidance-focused organizations and UN agencies announced the launch of the Impact Management Platform, a new initiative aiming to coordinate and mainstream practices relating to the management of the sustainability effects of organizations and investments, helping companies and investors to manage their sustainability impacts and to navigate the reporting landscape.

According to the new initiative, managing impact involves understanding whether an organization is creating or eroding value for society, and also assessing if these impacts have an effect on the business’ ability to create value for itself and its investors.

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The past several years have seen a significant increase in demand for organizations to improve their impacts on stakeholders from people to planet, resulting in a wide range of initiatives emerging to help understand, measure, manage and report on these impacts. This broad proliferation of resources and initiatives, however, have made consistent and comparable impact management practices difficult for organizations to implement and for investors and other stakeholders to discern.

The new initiative aims to address the need for a coherent, unified system of principles, standards and guidance to manage and improve and communicate sustainability impacts.

The founding partners of the Impact Management Organizations include many of the leading sustainability standards and guidance organizations, along with intergovernmental and UN agencies. Founding partners include B Lab, Capitals Coalition, CDP, Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG), the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative at Harvard Business School (IWAI), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Value Reporting Foundation, Social Value International, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), UN Global Compact (UNGC) and World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA). The platform’s steering committee includes the IFC, OECD, UNDP, UNEP FI and UNGC.

The partners stated that through the platform, they aim to identify opportunities to consolidate existing sustainability resources, work toward interoperability while collectively addressing gaps, and coordinate dialogue with policymakers and regulators to support the mainstreaming of impact management.

In order to support organizations to begin clarifying the actions of impact management and move towards implementation, the platform released its first web tool, outlining the core impact management practices, along with links to the resources and help investors and organizations implement them.

The platform is also developing a set of actions targeting investors to manage the impacts of their investments, ranging from providing capital to a single company or asset, or to a portfolio of companies and assets, anticipated for publication in 2022.