How Does GIIRS Fit Into Your Career Development Plan?

giirs-logoAs a responsible professional who wants to do business better, your career development plan certainly includes learning how to objectively measure social and environmental value creation.  With multiple models dedicated to measure impact, how do you know which ones you will need to master to gain competitive advantage in terms of getting your next job or promotion?

An interesting development this week might help you decide which one to pick.  Indeed, as reported earlier this week on our justmeans social enterprise blog, President Obama endorsed the Global Impact Investing Rating System ("GIIRS") this week.  GIIRS provides a framework that enables investors to measure their return on investment (ROI) in terms of the economic, social, and environmental value created by their investment.  More specifically, investors can compare the impact generated by their money across projects based on specific criteria (e.g. job creation, rural development, healthcare).  This enables investors to make informed decisions regarding where to invest their money.  It seems that this system will be used to make investment decisions in the very near future.  Indeed, USAID announced that it will make a financial commitment to support GIIRS testing in the developing world.  This move might be instrumental in driving impact capital entrepreneurs who address our world’s pressing social and environmental challenges through business.

As always, the devil is in the details (and in the implementation).  The first implementation phase will include phase twelve fund managers, who have committed to testing GIIRS with their portfolio of companies in the developing world.  These fund managers include the Acumen Fund, African Agricultural Capital, Agora Partners, Business Partners Limited, E+Co, Fanisi, Grassroots Business Fund, Grassroots Capital, IGNIA Partners, Root Capital, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, and New Ventures at the World Resources Institute.  It is anticipated that fund managers with company portfolios in developed economies in Europe and North America might also be testing GIIRS later in 2010.

So how does this fit into your career development plan?  If you are interested in building a career with an organization that takes corporate responsibility seriously, GIIRS might become your edge.  Indeed, by using GIIRS in your current work, in your volunteering activities or as a board member of a non-profit, you can significantly contribute to enabling mission-driven organizations to objectively measure the social or environmental impact of their projects.  Also, if the 2010 testing works, it is plausible that more foundations and social capital fund managers might include GIIRS as requirements to their requests for proposals.  Learning this skill now and implementing it to your current projects might give you a leg up when seeking funding.

Finally, you might also be able to use some elements of GIIRS to evaluate your current projects.  Using a scale that enable you to compare impact across causes can really help you in making strategic planning decisions.  Whether or not GIIRS will deliver on its promise, learning more about how to objectively measure the social and environmental value created by your projects will always remain a top priority in your responsible career development plan.

I look forward to your comments and to learning more about your thoughts on GIIRS!

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