SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises

Last updated: 2021

Practice standards that provide a common language and a system for integrating sustainable development issues, the Sustainable Development Goals and impact management into business and investment decision-making. These practice standards also outline the ‘ABC’ classification methodology, which helps organisations assess whether an impact ‘Acts to reduce harm’, ‘Benefits stakeholders’, or ‘Contributes to solutions’ in relation to the SDGs.

Use this resource to:

Set up processes and embed practices that orient an organisation towards achieving the SDGs. The SDG Impact Standard contains practice indicators that are relevant to several actions. Use the links below to access guidance for different practice indicators. Alternatively, view the whole guidance document here.

COMPASS: The Methodology for Comparing and Assessing Impact

Last updated: 2021

Guidance that provides an analytical framework to compare impact performance, with a specific focus on variance and the extent of the change required to enable meaningful contribution toward impact.

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Normalise measures of impact so that impact performance can be compared. This resource can also be used to determine how meaningful the contribution of the investor is.

SDG Action Manager

Last updated: 2020

Tool designed to help organisations measure and manage their impacts in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Fill in the online questionnaire to understand the SDGs most relevant to manage, based on the organisation’s size, sector, and geography. The questionnaire draws from B Lab’s B Impact Assessment and the UN Global Compact’s 10 Principles. It was developed through research and public consultation and so provides an evidence-based starting point for identifying sustainability topics to measure.
  • Measure sustainability performance: Use the SDG Action Manager as a set of metrics. The questionnaire enables organisations to collect performance information on the SDGs that are most relevant to manage, based on the organisation’s size, sector and geography.
  • Assess impact: Fill in the questionnaire to track changes in performance over time. Each question is scored – some with reference to social or ecological thresholds – to help the organisation determine whether it is performing sustainably on that topic.
  • Benchmark: The self-assessment tool helps organisations compare performance with peers on each SDG or as a whole organisation.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Engage with underlying assets and support them in completing the SDG Action Manager Questionnaire. The multiple-choice, weighted question format helps underlying assets and their investors quickly judge whether performance on a topic is likely to be unsustainable or sustainable, and what they can do to improve.

EU Taxonomy

Last updated: 2020

Regulation that sets out performance thresholds for organisations to classify their economic activities as “sustainable” according to European policy objectives.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Find the economic activities that correspond to the organisation and review what the taxonomy says about likely impacts on sustainability. This can be an input into identifying sustainability topics to measure. This regulation is based on research connecting economic activities to likely significant impacts on six environmental objectives. Currently, research related to objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation are most developed.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Identify: Find the economic activities that correspond to the financial institution’s activities and review what the taxonomy says about likely impacts on sustainability. This can be an input into identifying sustainability topics to measure. This regulation is based on research connecting economic activities to likely significant impacts on six environmental objectives. Currently, research related to objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation are most developed.
  • Assess: Assess whether underlying assets are sustainable. Underlying assets that fall under the taxonomy regulation will report on the portion of their revenue, capital expenditure and operational expenditure that are ‘taxonomy aligned’, and therefore considered a ‘sustainable investment’ according EU policy objectives.
  • Set targets: Set objectives for a portion of the portfolio to be ‘taxonomy-aligned’. Regulation provides investors with a set of performance thresholds that have to be met for an underlying asset to be viewed as operating sustainably in relation to one the EU’s six environmental objectives. Underlying assets that are ‘taxonomy aligned’ are generating sustainable outcomes and are therefore also ‘Benefiting stakeholders’.

Impact-financial integration: a handbook for investors

Last updated: 2020

Guidance on impact-financial integration at the investment and portfolio level, developed by a collaboration of 13 investors. Includes examples.

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Construct an expected impact rating using sections 1.3 and 2. Use Sections 1.5-1.8 and 3.1-3.2 to integrate impact alongside financial risk and return to inform investment decision-making.

Reporting and assessment framework

Last updated: 2020

Tool to report on responsible investment activities annually.

Relevance to Portfolio of assets:

  • Disclose: Report on firm-wide and portfolio or strategy-specific investment practices.

IRIS+ for Impact Due Diligence

Last updated: 2020

Guidance on constructing due diligence questions based on the investor’s impact goals.

Use this resource to:

  • Identify: Use for impact due diligence, specifically the anticipated impacts before an investment decision.
  • Assess: Integrate impact measurement and management into the due diligence process to aid in assessing and managing impact risk.
  • Monitor: Construct a set of due diligence questions that uses the IRIS+ system and evidence base.

Impact Classification System

Last updated: 2021

Forthcoming: Tool for investors to publicly classify the impact of their portfolios. The tool uses Impact Classes as a means to segment a portfolio by type of impact on two axes: the impact of underlying assets (A, B or C) and investor’s contribution. Users can also express the portfolio’s contribution to SDGs.

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Assess the actual or expected performance of a portfolio of investments using classification.
  • Disclose: Publicly disclose the performance of a portfolio of investments using classification.

CFO Principles on Integrated SDG Investments and Finance

Last updated: 2020

Principles to guide companies in aligning their sustainability commitments with credible corporate finance strategies geared towards contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Governance, Strategy and Management Approach: Integrate impact management and contribution to the SDGs into the corporate finance function. This initiative involves a fee for participation.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Strategy: Integrate impact management and contribution to the SDGs into the corporate finance function. This initiative involves a fee for participation

SDG Ambition Benchmark Reference Sheets

Last updated: 2020

Recommendations on how to set ambitious objectives in relation to each Sustainable Development Goal.

Use this resource to:

  • Set and revise objectives: Use this guidance to consider the information and processes needed to set and achieve ambitious objectives.