WTF does all this mean?

Figuring out all the abbreviations used when discussing impact investing can be tough. Here's a handy guide.

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AYS: As You Sow

A non-profit that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies.

CDFI: Community Development Finance Institution

These are institutions that seek to reduce poverty in economically depressed areas through credit, financial, and other services.

CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility

A management concept where companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business model. The goal is to embrace responsibility for how a company’s business activities impact people and the planet.

ESG: Environment, Social, and Governance

ESG issues are central to measuring the sustainability and ethical impacts of a company.

GIIN: Global Impact Investing Network

This network drives thought leadership on a variety of key topics and themes within the impact investing industry.

GIIRS: Global Impact Investing Ratings System

This assesses the social and environmental impact (but not the financial performance) of companies and funds, using a ratings method.

GSIA: Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

A collaboration of membership-based sustainable investment organizations from around the world.

IRIS: Impact Reporting and Investment Standards

A set of standardized metrics that can be used to describe an organization’s social, environmental, and financial performance. These are increasingly accepted by the impact industry as a universally accepted set of measurement principles.

KPI: Key Performance Indicators

KPIs are a commonly used measurable value by which an organization can evaluate its success or the success of a particular activity.

MDG: Millennium Development Goals

These 8 international development goals were established following the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 with measurable targets and clear deadlines for improving the lives of the world's poorest people. . They’ve since been updated by the 2016 UN SDGs.

MFI: Microfinance Institution

Any kind of financial institution that provides banking products and services to low-income clients.

MRI: Mission-Related Investment

An investment made using assets from a foundation’s endowment to create social impact as well as financial returns.

PRI: Program-Related Investment

An investment made by a foundation that qualifies as a charitable expense. They may then include the investment as part of the 5% of assets it distributes philanthropically each year to maintain its non-profit status.

SASB: The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

These standards are intended as a complement to financial accounting standards, such that they can be evaluated side by side to provide a complete view of corporate performance and prospects.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

These 17 international development goals were established by the United Nations following the expiration of the MDG in 2015.

SGB: Small and Growing Business

A commercially viable business that has significant potential for expansion and social impact in the communities where it operates.

SME: Small and Medium Enterprise

Generally, a company characterized by the number of its employees or annual sales or assets. A small enterprise meets two of the these three criteria: minimum 50 employees, under $3 million in each assets and sales. A medium enterprise meets two of the following three criteria: up to 300 employees, total assets and total sales of up to $15 million.

SRI: Socially Responsible Investing

SRI primarily employs negative screening meaning that investors don’t invest in companies whose profit-generating activities produce negative social or environmental outcomes.

USSIF: United States Social Investment Forum

This forum leads the talks in advancing sustainable, responsible, and impact investing across all asset classes.

Topics: The Stack Up

Nicole White

Nicole White

Nicole White is Swell's Copywriter and Content Strategist. Her passion (however boring) is personal finance; she has a unique knack for simplifying the complicated through wit and accessibility. Originally from Pittsburgh, she moved to LA with her family about two years ago and loves it. She's excited to be a part of a team that is actually making a difference through innovation and elbow grease.

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