Can impact investors make money and also make a discernible difference in the lives of the underserved in LMICs? This question speaks to a longstanding challenge in the impact investing space, regarding the difficulty of connecting metrics to impact. It is no secret that impact investors struggle to identify meaningful measures that enable benchmarking and assess social impact across a portfolio. However, despite the recognition that impact measurement is critical, many investors are still daunted by the task of navigating between impact goal and the most relevant metrics to gauge progress toward those goals.
This dual desire for and struggle with impact measurement is happening just as the majority of impact sectors are beginning to embrace the innovation and potential for financial sustainability that goes hand-in-hand with market-based solutions. Health care, especially in emerging markets, is one of these sectors. Donors, governments, and others are increasingly seeking ways to effectively harness the innovation of the private sector to expand healthcare access in low- and middle-income countries.
Recognizing the appetite of impact investors for comprehensive systems of impact management practice, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) partnered with CHMI to develop a practical, streamlined tool to help investors articulate their impact intent and select metrics that matter to measure success for their investments to demonstrate how well they deliver affordably priced, quality services to the poor.
The new health theme of the GIIN’s Navigating Impact project was created in consultation with over 30 investors and experts like the DGHI Evidence Lab, We Scale Impact and Innovations in Healthcare to provide an on-ramp to setting and streamlining strategies to better evaluate the impact of health investments, as well as the collective impact of the broader health care market delivering much-needed products and services in LMICs.
The Navigating Impact health investment theme includes the following six strategies that show different ways investors might frame their impact goals:
- Improving Access to High-Quality, Affordable Essential Medicines & Vaccines
- Improving Access to Innovative Medical Devices, & Diagnostics
- Improving Health Systems Policy and Decision-Making
- Improving the Health Workforce
- Innovating Strategies to Supply Essential Service and Products
- Reducing Financial Barriers to Health Services
Each strategy includes an overview, an evidence map, a core set of metrics that are shown to indicate progress toward that strategy’s objectives, as well as curated resources that can help measure and manage toward the strategy. Investors can use the tool to demonstrate that positive financial returns and social returns can be successfully paired, and that they are delivering meaningful good to the world’s poorest communities.
Building on the foundation of this and previous work with the GIIN on standardized health metrics, CHMI plans to use this tool as a way to identify successful models — like the 1,300-plus innovative health programs that are part of the CHMI network — that are leveraging the transformational potential of their enterprise to accelerate progress towards achieving UHC, and are ripe for catalytic investment to scale-up their impact.
CHMI is thrilled to have been a part of this industry effort as a thought partner and resource.