IPED Student’s Summer Internship with the Global Impact Investing Network (the GIIN)

By: Anna Margarita Canero

This summer, I had the great opportunity to work with the Global Impact Investing Network (the GIIN) – an organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. While impact investing is relatively new and still evolving, the GIIN defines it as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”. I worked in the impact measurement and management (IMM) division, helping update the IRIS+ system, which helps investors translate their impact intentions into measurable results. 

It was interesting to switch from an academic background of monitoring & evaluation to IMM. While some skills and concepts carried over, I had to learn the metrics and processes better suited for financial institutions. One key challenge in the impact space is that investors often use different standards to measure their impact, often leading to incomparable results among peers. My responsibilities involved working with colleagues and partners to make sure IRIS+ metrics and themes are aligned to some of the most widely recognized standards. Some of these include the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, B Lab, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). 

The IRIS+ system aligns with over 50 standards bodies. IRIS+ materials therefore cover a diversity of industry types and disclosure requirements.

In addition to working on metrics alignments for the IRIS+ system, I took the initiative to start a data analysis project for the IRIS+ website analytics. Since traffic to the website has been steadily increasing, I used Tableau to create analytics dashboards which the IMM team can use to track different aspects of user engagement. Using the dashboards will enable the GIIN staff to craft website growth strategies using a data-driven approach. 

Two IPED skills have helped me tremendously in this internship: data analysis and the ability to synthesize/organize massive amounts of information into cohesive segments. Interestingly enough, the many book reports assigned in various IPED classes prepared me to tackle the multitude of frameworks that needed IRIS integration. Of course, gaining a background in monitoring and evaluation from the Project Management and Project Assessment courses also helped immensely. Impact investing is a growing industry, and I’m excited to grow a career in impact measurement and management. 

One of our many team meetings on Slack. (IMM director, Kelly McCarthy, pictured)