Global Impact Venturing and Heliotropy rely on the wisdom of thousands to answer this tough question. The Impact Management Project has spent a few years building consensus on what we mean when we talk about impact — and how to measure, manage and communicate it.

Impact is a change in an important positive or negative outcome for people or the planet. This can be a result of action or inaction — and when we look at corporate venturing activities, we seek to understand the outcomes they create for customers, employees, local communities, suppliers and the planet.

The IMP observed three common intentions:

Act to Avoid Harm – for example, decreasing a carbon footprint, reducing waste of scarce resources or paying an appropriate wage. This might be focused on mitigating reputational or operational risk.

Benefit Stakeholders – for example, proactively up-skilling employees or selling products that support good health or educational outcomes. This is often in pursuit of long-term financial outperformance and a drive to have a positive effect on society.

Contribute to Solutions – many corporates go further, using their venturing activities to contribute to pressing social and environmental problems – for example, enabling an underserved population to achieve good health, educational outcomes or financial inclustion, or hiring and skilling formerly unemployed individuals.

GIV will focus on highlighting deals and venturing activity with a range of impact goals, whether within CVCs or portfolio companies, and especially highlight how they relate to the Sustainable Development Goals which is the closest the world has to a roadmap. Check out our infographics for more detail on this!