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Measuring the Impact of Social Banking, Microfinance and Impact Investment

Interview with Olaf Weber -click link
 

research framework descriptor

Generously funded by:

Export Development Canada

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Meet the research team:

Professor Olaf Weber

Emmanuel O’Acheta: PhD student

Sean Geobey: PhD student

Kostas Karanasios: LED Masters Student

Abstract:

While the financial return of social banking, microfinance and impact investments is relatively easy to ascertain by traditional methods, the emerging societal return is still hard to measure in a valid, reliable and transparent way. Indicators that show the societal impact of social finance are still rare though there is a growing need for information about the blended - financial and societal -return of these investments. This leads to an increase of administrative costs for social finance projects because no standardized and transparent indicators exist that reflect the social impact of a social finance project in a transparent, systematic and efficient way.

Another uncertainty about social finance is the risk and the behaviour of social finance institutions. Are these institutes healthy from a financial point of view, do they treat their clients in a fair manner as it should be assumed and what are the goals of these companies?

Thus, the project strives to analyse these questions using a transdisciplinary approach. First, the nature of the three clusters of social finance - social banks, microfinance institutions and impact investment organisations - will be investigated by analysing their missions, visions and goals. On this basis indicators to measure the social, environmental and sustainability return of social finance - the so-called blended return or shared value - will be developed. These indicators will be able to show the non-financial impact that can be achieved by investing a given amount of capital. The indicators will be used to measure the impact of a selection of social banks, microfinance and impact investing institutions in an exemplary way.

Research activities and outputs:

  1. Weber, O. (2010). Microfinance. Management Ethics, Summer 2010, 4-6.
  2. Weber, O. (2010). Social Banking: Products and Services. SSRN eLibrary, http://ssrn.com/paper=1621822
  3. Weber, O. (2011). Mission and Profitability of Social Banks. SSRN eLibrary.
  4. Weber, O. (2012). Financing Nonprofits and Social Enterprises: Risks and Opportunities. Paper presented at the Fifth Annual ANSER Conference, Waterloo, ON.
  5. Weber, O. (2012). Social Finance and Impact Investing. SSRN eLibrary. Retrieved from SSRN website: http://ssrn.com/paper=2160403
  6. Weber, O. (2012, August 16). Summer School: The Impact of Sustainable Banking.  Retrieved from http://socialfinance.ca/blog/post/summer-school-the-impact-of-sustainable-banking
  7. Weber, O. (2012). Sustainable Banking – History and Current Developments. SSRN eLibrary. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/paper=2159947
  8. Weber, O. (submitted). Responsible Investment in Canada. In N. Beinisch, J. P. Hawley, T. Hebb, A. G. F. Hoepner & D. Wood (Eds.), Handbook of Responsible Investment London, New York: Routledge.
  9. Weber, O., & Duan, Y. (2012). Social Finance and Banking. In J. R. Nofsinger & K. Baker (Eds.), Socially Responsible Finance and Investing (pp. 161-180). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  10. Weber, O., & Geobey, S. (2012). Social Finance and Nonprofits: the Contribution of Social Finance to the Sustainability of Nonprofit Organizations and Social Enterprises (pp. 44). Waterloo, ON: School for Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo.
  11. Weber, O., & Remer, S. (Eds.). (2011). Social Banks and the Future of Sustainable Finance. London: Routledge.
  12. Weber, O., & Remer, S. (2011). Social Banks and the Future of Sustainable Finance. The World Financial Review, May-June, 4-7.
  13. Weber, O. (in press). Impact Measurement in Microfinance: Is the measurement of the Social Return on Investment an Innovation in Microfinance? Journal of Innovation Economics (Cairn).
  14. Workshop in Fall 2012: https://uwaterloo.ca/environment/events/sustainable-finance-workshop