ESG and Measuring Social Impact With Purpose
Will ESG elevate or eviscerate our efforts to save the planet and ourselves?
If we can accurately measure our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions why does it seem so difficult to accurately measure the S (social impact outcomes) in ESG?
In his recent Stanford Social Innovation Review article, Jason Saul notes that "To be relevant, the ESG field must modernize the way it measures S factors. To do so, we must overcome several key conceptual challenges: standardization, quantification, and reporting." He offers three steps to move forward:
- First, and most importantly, companies should start reporting S impact data consistently. Standards have to start from the ground up. There’s no need to wait for rating agencies to catch up or standard-setters to adapt.
- Second, ESG investors should start asking for S impact data and making it a requirement. Impact investors like Forthlane Partners in Toronto, Baillie Gifford in Edinburgh, and Planet First Partners in London are already asking for this data. But the process is still manual, the data being requested is inconsistent, and the S analysis isn’t as directly linked to corporate performance as it could be.
- Finally, ESG rating agencies, standard-setting bodies, and data providers should align with a specialized S data provider to up-level the value of their data. S impact data is complex; it cannot be simply captured in a one-dimensional box-ticking survey. Reliable, high-quality S data requires specialized taxonomies, questionnaires, and independent verification.
Join "Conversations on Purpose", with Sarah Saso and Verity Dimock, as they welcome Jason Saul and Chris Jarvis to explore the future of ESG and how it is changing the resourcing priorities of environmental, social, and governance investments. Together, we will explore the following:
- The link between social impact and financial performance
- Moving from a risk-based materiality framework toward impact
- Standardizing the measurement of S data
- Wednesday, October 26, 2022
- 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT / 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST
- CSR, ESG, and social impact practitioners and consultants
- Corporate and private foundation executives and staff
- Grants/giving/volunteer platform representatives
- Rating agency representatives
- Ranking organization representatives
- Nonprofit executives and program staff
- Award and recognition organizations
- Academic researchers
- Interested representatives from procurement and governance departments
More about our guests
Jason Saul is the Executive Director of the Center for Impact Sciences at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and CEO and Founder of Mission Measurement where he and his team created the Universal Outcomes Taxonomy™ and The Impact Genome Project® which is a registry to measure, report and verify the S in ESG.
Jason discovered that across the entire social sector, there were 132 common outcomes. These outcomes can be indexed by program type and sub-type, and classified into a functional taxonomy.
Grantmakers can now use the Genome Project framework to organize their grants against priority outcomes (of the 132 outcomes documented) and analyze the impact of their work on a particular issue.
Chris Jarvis is the Executive Director of the RW Institute and Chief Strategy Officer of Realized Worth, a consulting firm focused on the design and implementation of transformative employee volunteering and giving initiatives.
Together Jason and Chris help corporations, non-profits, and the public sector create value through social change. They have continued to push our sector forward, especially around measurement.
Interested in learning more?
- Fixing the S in ESG: How to move from net zero to net impact, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Jason Saul, February 2022
- The Impact Revolution, Sir Ronald Cohen, TEDxLondonBusinessSchool, May 2022
- ESG Materiality Maps, S&P Global Ratings
- What is the ‘S’ in ESG?, S&P Global Ratings
- The secret life of ESG ratings, GreenBiz Group, Joel Makower, May 2022
- Stock price reactions to ESG news: the role of ESG ratings and disagreement, Review of Accounting Studies, Serafeim and Yoon, 2022
- Do high-ability managers choose ESG projects that create shareholder value? Evidence from employee opinions, Forthcoming, Review of Accounting Studies, Welch and Yoon, 2022
- Sustainable Investing Failed Its First Big Test. A Reckoning Is Coming - Barron's on MarketWatch, by Lauren Foster, April 2022