We see impact in the enterprises, funds and organizations we work with at SVX.
positive social and/or environmental impact alongside the potential for positive financial return.
How do we see impact?
Our View on Impact
An enterprise should intend to create a direct impact through a business model that aims to tackle a market shortfall, problem, or externality. For example, Oliberté aims to support workers rights and provide employment in sub-Saharan Africa through a sustainable lifestyle brand that includes footwear and accessories.
We also work with conscious companies that may not have impact objectives as the driving force of the company, but they intend to improve existing conditions. They may aim to use responsible principles in their procurement, production, distribution channels, environmental footprint, worker rights, and community. Klean Kanteen and Seventh Generation would be great examples of conscious companies.
Although Corporate Social Responsibility approaches are positive, we do not believe in driving impact where social benefit is ancillary or reliant on profits. Impact must be core to what our issuers do.
Impact should also be deep and/or wide. Deep impact is change in a community or neighbourhood, or changing the quality of life of a particular group of people. This may be an enterprise like Tecla, that is improving the quality of life for persons with barriers to communication or mobility.
Wide impact may have a national or global scale with modest or high growth that can touch the lives of thousands or millions of people. For example, an enterprise like Lucky Iron Fish has positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands in countries across the globe.
Unless they have deep or wide impact, we typically do not work with natural growth companies like independent cafés or bicycle shops.
We are focused on impact in the following sectors:
- Clean Technology: Sustainable technologies in agri-tech, energy, smart cities, and water.
- Work and Learning: Work and learning technology innovations creating opportunity for all Canadians.
- Health and Wellness: Diagnostic devices, digital health, assistive technologies, remote health technology, and health information management.
- Food: Natural, local and organic foods, fair trade, ethical and sustainable food.
- Social Inclusion: Employing or serving persons with disabilities, persons living in poverty, First Nations individuals, or new Canadians as well as affordable housing.
Our Impact Performance
Supporting Ventures: We have worked with over 100 ventures in programs and on platform in past four (4) years in Ontario and Québec.
Mobilizing Impact Capital: Ventures on platform and in our programs have raised $100M through all transactions.
Creating and Retaining Jobs: In 2016, our ventures created an average of three (3) full and part-time jobs and retained 11 full and part-time jobs.
National and Global Scale: Successful launch in Ontario and Québec with partner platforms in US and Mexico. We are also working with partners in other countries around the world.
Educating Canadians: We have educated over 10,000 Canadians about impact investing and social enterprise since we started.
Utilize existing impact standards
There are a number of leading industry standards that have been developed for the impact investing marketplace. In our case, we leverage the B Impact Assessment developed by B Lab, examining impact on the environment, community, and workers as well as the governance and business operations of ventures. This provides a proven and verifiable third party standard where ventures can be compared across industries and geographies.
Track and publicly report your impact using demonstrable and verifiable metrics
In order to ensure that impact is being achieved, it is important to measure and report impact using demonstrable and verifiable metrics. This means that you will set and publicly report on measures like GHG emission reduction, job creation numbers, number of persons employed from marginalized communities, or number of housing units and ensure that those figures are reasonably verifiable by your enterprise or an outside firm.
You can use internal impact accounting systems to simply set and manage impact metrics, or there are existing and emerging systems like the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) that can provide guidance on metrics. Some organizations have also chosen to organize and align their metrics with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Utilize or modify impact management frameworks
You don’t need to create an impact measurement framework from scratch. There are a number of frameworks that you can leverage that will help you track and improve your impact over time. We encourage organizations to use the Theory of Change frameworks. There are also systems like Bridges Impact+ that are very helpful.
This is an evolving field. We don’t have it all figured out. But we would love your thoughts and insights. If you have advice for us, please feel free to connect with any of our team members.
The Pulse of Impact Measurement (SVT Group)
More than Measurement: A Practitioner’s Journey to Impact Management (Bridges Ventures)
Creating Your Theory of Change (NPC)
Impact Measurement in Impact Investing (Nesta)