New Frontiers | Our WorkProposed Social Equity Changes to the Norms

in partnership with:
STATE: Active
DATE: July 5, 2024
STATUS: Open for public comment
Supporting documents:
STATE: Active
DATE: July 5, 2024
STATUS: Open for public comment

In 2024, Impact Frontiers is conducting a social equity audit of the Norms of impact management facilitated by the Impact Management Project (IMP) and now stewarded by Impact Frontiers. These include the five dimensions of impact, ABC classification, and investor contribution. We invite feedback on a discussion document summarizing proposed social equity changes to the Norms through September 13th, 2024 and will publish revisions to the Norms on our website in Q4 2024.

The intended outcome of this project is to build consensus on a baseline level of individual competency and organization-level processes related to social equity that are simply good impact management practice, even for individuals and organizations without goals related to social equity.

We began by engaging the following social equity experts to review the full text of the Norms on the Impact Frontiers website through the lens of their respective fields of expertise and suggest revisions:

The discussion document synthesizes their recommendations into six cross-cutting themes of proposed revisions and presents illustrative changes to the Norms for each:

Theme #1 Recognizing investors as stakeholders who both frame the impact management process (informed by a unique set of values, cultural contexts, and potential biases) and benefit from investments.
Theme #2 Guiding investors to consider a wider range of engagement levels when incorporating stakeholder voice in impact management decisions, consistent with their goals and resources.
Theme #3 Shifting from “deficit-framing” to “asset-framing” by encouraging investors to lead with stakeholders’ desired outcomes, identify challenges in achieving these outcomes, and dig deeper into the specific barriers stakeholders face due to historical and/ or current marginalization in order to identify targeted actions that enable all stakeholder groups to achieve equitable outcomes.
Theme #4 Expanding guidance on using socio-demographic data to uncover inequities between stakeholder subgroups and grounding stakeholder segmentation in data equity to minimize unintended harm to marginalized stakeholders through collection and use of personal data.
Theme #5 Explaining the strengths and limitations of a broader range of research methods to guide investors in applying equitable research methods when evaluating enterprise and investor contribution.
Theme #6 Addressing social equity in the “Risk” dimension by making existing implicit equity considerations more explicit and adding a new risk type focused on the risk of perpetuating inequity.


Public Consultation

Impact Frontiers launched this effort in Q1 2024 with the support of the Tipping Point Fund. We are inviting feedback on the discussion document via public consultation through September 13th, 2024. We will incorporate feedback and publish updated Norms on our website by the end of 2024.

Responses are welcome via whichever medium listed below is most convenient for you. You may also choose to engage through all three options:

Consultation Questions

We invite your thoughts on any aspect of the discussion document, including the following discussion questions:

  1. Are there other themes missing or other changes to the Norms that we should consider from a social equity lens?
  2. Are there any themes that would benefit from more detailed implementation guidance than what is currently included in the illustrative content?
  3. Should the proposed changes go further to raise the minimum standard of social equity awareness for all impact investors, or do you think they currently go too far (i.e., they are inaccessible or unrealistic)?

Share your views below!

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