IMPACT VERIFICATION

Impact verification is the assessment of an investor’s impact management practices or impact performance against specific industry standards, such as the Operating Principles for Impact Management (OPIM) or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

IMPACT VERIFICATION

Impact verification is the assessment of an investor’s impact management practices or impact performance against specific industry standards, such as the Operating Principles for Impact Management (OPIM) or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

Why is impact verification important?

Just as independent assurance and third-party ratings play a foundational role in traditional financial markets, impact verification is essential for strengthening trust and accountability in the impact investing market.

Independent impact verification offers a third-party perspective on whether investors’ impact practices and performance are credible. By helping impact investors align with industry standards and increase confidence that impact claims will result in actual impact outcomes, impact verification represents the best tool in the fight against impact-washing.

How does impact verification work?

Verification involves an in-depth evaluation of an investor’s or company’s impact management practices and/or impact performance to determine whether they are in alignment with industry best practices, based on leading industry standards. Impact verification relies on a thorough review of relevant documentation and data as well as interviews and spot-checks to form a holistic picture of how investors and companies approach the impact in impact investing.

There are several standard-setting organizations currently working on instituting or refining impact verification requirements, including:

While each standard-setter uses slightly different requirements, there is a growing consensus on the need for accountability, third-party verification and independent assurance to ensure that impact investors are truly aligned with best practices.

What does BlueMark do?

BlueMark, a Tideline company, provides independent impact verification services for investors and companies. We currently offer three types of services, each of which enables greater transparency and confidence regarding an investor’s practices and performance. These verification services include:

MANDATE

We assess whether an investor has a robust impact thesis that is aligned with industry standards.

PRACTICE

We assess the degree to which an investor’s impact management (IM) practices are aligned with market standards, evaluating the quality and depth of a client's IM system as well as its compliance with a threshold standard of practice.

REPORTING

We assess the quality of an investor’s impact performance reporting based on industry best practices, evaluating the clarity, comparability, and balance of the impact information reported by a client as well as the quality and reliability of underlying data.

We view every verification assignment as an opportunity to partner with our clients in their efforts to continually learn and improve on their impact processes and performance. BlueMark goes beyond a ‘check-the-box’ exercise by providing in-depth assessments and benchmarks that advance our clients’ understanding and achievement of best practices. We empower our clients by providing them with the tools, resources, and third-party expert opinions necessary to succeed.

To see how impact verification works in practice, please see case studies of our recent work with Calvert Impact CapitalKKR and Leapfrog Investments.

A more detailed list of clients along with sample verification statements is available on our Clients page.

Where can we go to learn more about impact verification?

Impact verification is a new but growing area of focus within the impact investing industry. See below for a snapshot of recent webinars, news articles and opinion pieces about impact verification. Additional reference materials are available on the BlueMark resources page.

An FAQ with key terms and definitions related to impact verification is also available on the BlueMark site. 

Meet the team behind BlueMark, including CEO Christina Leijonhufvud.

Contact us directly at [email protected] to discuss your impact verification needs and goals.