SERVICES

BlueMark offers impact verification services, building trust and confidence in investors’ impact practices and performance.

 

SERVICES

BlueMark offers impact verification services, building trust and confidence in investors’ impact practices and performance.

 

What We Do

We evaluate and verify how clients approach the impact in impact investing based on accepted industry standards. BlueMark’s verification is designed to strengthen confidence in investors’ accountability for their stated impact goals. Our services are structured around three key components of an investor’s impact management process: Impact Mandate, Impact Management Practice, and Impact Reporting.

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.

REPORTING

We assess whether an investor’s impact reporting is consistent with industry best practices.

Our Verification Methodology

We developed our verification methodology to meet the growing investor demand and market expectation for greater confidence and credibility in the impact label, especially as impact claims are more closely scrutinized by a range of stakeholders. This idea guided our verification approach, which is designed to bring three specific benefits to the impact investing market: 

 

Accountability

By evaluating whether impact investors’ practices and performance are aligned to accepted market standards

Discipline

By encouraging transparency, adoption of industry best practices, and shared learning that continuously raises the bar for performance

Comparability

By establishing benchmarks and ratings that allow stakeholders to compare different approaches to impact investing on a consistent basis

We believe these three benefits are essential to scaling the impact investing industry with integrity and are embedded in how we approach each verification assignment.

EBRD has been doing impact investing for more than two decades, but we knew there was more we could learn about how to improve our impact management system. Tideline brought extensive experience and a well-regarded approach to verification that quickly and effectively assessed the policies, processes and tools that we use for impact management. The Tideline verification process confirmed several areas of strength, but also highlighted specific areas where EBRD could go further, going beyond simple compliance to benchmarking our impact performance against other industry leaders in impact investing and better positioning us to attract more private impact capital for development.

European Bank for Reconstruction Development (EBRD)
Alan Rousso

Managing Director for External Relations and Partnerships

Hear BlueMark CEO Christina Leijonhufvud discuss the importance of impact verification at a recent event hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation:

 

On March 9th, 2020, The Rockefeller Foundation hosted a live panel on impact verification, beamed to an online audience, Impact Investing’s Next Chapter: Integrity Through Assurance. The panel featured Anthony Berkley (Prudential Financial), Diane Damskey (Operating Principles for Impact Management), Saumya Mehrotra (UNPRI), Caitlin Rosser (Calvert Impact Capital), and Christina Leijonhufvud (BlueMark), with opening remarks from Mike Muldoon (The Rockefeller Foundation).   

Overview of BlueMark’s Impact Verification Services

We currently offer three types of impact verification services:

Mandate

Practice 

Reporting 

Service

Assessment of the robustness of an investor‘s impact thesis

Assessment of the degree to which an investor’s impact management practices are aligned with market standards

Assessment of the quality of an investor’s external impact reporting based on industry best practices

Approach

BlueMark evaluates the clarity of an investor’s impact thesis, its alignment with goal-setting and metrics standards, and the strength of supporting evidence

BlueMark analyzes the compliance, quality and depth of an investor’s impact management system and processes, and rates the degree of alignment to key market standards

BlueMark evaluates an investor’s impact reporting based on the relevance, completeness, comparability and balance of impact information

Value-Add

Recommend enhancements for a clear, evidence-based impact thesis aligned with industry standards

Establish benchmarks for comparison to market practices and advise on areas of strength and gaps to improve and align with standards

Advise on ways to improve impact reporting to Limited Partners and the public in line with market standards and best practices

Clients

Asset managers
Asset allocators
Companies

Asset managers
Asset allocators
Companies

Asset managers
Asset allocators
Companies

Best Timing

Fund formation, launch, or re-capitalization

Every 1-3 years, based on IM system changes and assurance requirements

Annually or otherwise in line with reporting frequency

Key Standards

Mandate

Service

Assessment of the robustness of an investor‘s impact thesis

Approach

BlueMark evaluates the clarity of an investor’s impact thesis, its alignment with goal-setting and metrics standards, and the strength of supporting evidence

Value-Add

Recommend enhancements for a clear, evidence-based impact thesis aligned with industry standards

Clients

Asset managers
Asset allocators
Companies

Best Timing

Fund formation, launch, or re-capitalization

Key Standards

Practice

Service

Assessment of the degree to which an investor’s impact management practices are aligned with market standards

Approach

BlueMark analyzes the compliance, quality and depth of an investor’s impact management system and processes, and rates the degree of alignment to key market standards

Value-Add

Establish benchmarks for comparison to market practices and advise on areas of strength and gaps to improve and align with standards

Clients

Asset managers
Asset allocators
Companies

Best Timing

Every 1-3 years, based on IM system changes and assurance requirements

Key Standards

Reporting

Service

Assessment of the quality of an investor’s external impact reporting based on industry best practices

Approach

BlueMark evaluates an investor’s impact reporting based on the relevance, completeness, comparability and balance of impact information

Value-Add

Advise on ways to improve impact reporting to Limited Partners and the public in line with market standards and best practices

Clients

Asset managers
Asset allocators
Companies

Best Timing

Annually or otherwise in line with reporting frequency

Key Standards

CASE STUDY

CASE STUDY — KKR

In 2018 KKR launched its first dedicated impact investing fund, KKR Global Impact, and, in April 2019, became a founding Signatory to the Operating Principles for Impact Management. The firm recognized that any credible impact investor would need a rigorous approach to assessing and managing impact, and embraced the idea of disclosure and independent verification of its impact management system. In an IFC report, New Insights Into the Practice of Impact Investing, KKR said that the firm “believed that impact accountability is key to scaling the impact investing industry” – not just for the sake of disclosure, “but rather using disclosure and verification to help drive continuous improvement.”

KKR engaged Tideline to perform the assessment and shared findings that assessed progress to date and provided recommendations on how to further build on the Fund’s work. Given that the external assessment occurred early in the life of KKR’s strategy, the Fund was able to use Tideline’s insights to help inform the development of its impact management processes, post-investment. For example, KKR built additional impact management considerations into its existing Portfolio Management Committee materials to revisit a transaction’s impact thesis and risks over time and, in 2019, completed an assurance readiness exercise to evaluate its data management and controls procedures.

Adapted from “Growing Impact: New Insights into the Practice of Impact Investing”, International Finance Corporation, June 2020