Measuring Social Impact Conference in Athens

The European Investment Bank Institute, in partnership with the Bodossaki Foundation of Greece, hosted a conference in Athens, on Friday 9 December 2016, aiming to inform, raise awareness and encourage exchange of best practices on measuring social impact, as a prerequisite for effectively investing in social causes and achieving social change.

This event brought together practitioners from the third sector in Greece, such as NGOs, social enterprises and public benefit foundations, as well as representatives from the public and the private sector, in a unique common framework of discussions and exchanges, which raised the importance of assessing social value, as a prerequisite towards investing in social causes and achieving social change.

During his welcome address, Sotiris Laganopoulos, Programme Director at the Bodossaki Foundation, said: “The ability to measure, monitor and communicate social impact has the potential to bring many benefits to the social sphere. It can help us, as companies and organisations, to maintain and improve the quality of our activities and services. It can also promote transparency and accountability, which in turn helps to us engage supporters and build public confidence in our work”.

Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the EIB Institute, said: “The EIB Group – the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF)- has a long standing record in social impact investment both within and outside the European Union. We finance investment projects and we focus on their concrete results, on what they will bring to citizens. We strive to be effective and accountable. It was therefore natural for the Institute to be a partner in this event

Keynote speaker Jeremy Nicholls, CEO of Social Value UK and Social Value International, raised the importance of social impact measurement and stated the following: “All too often key decisions about resources and policies are made using a limited economic concept of value, which fails to consider important effects on people and the environment. As the gap between rich and poor increases, resources dwindle and the effects of climate change become more apparent, the need to focus on social value has never been more urgent. The solution for this is a world where decision making, practices and resource allocation are based on the principles of accounting for value and stakeholder focused impact measurement. This will lead to increased equality and well-being and reduced environmental degradation.”

Keynote speaker Bjoern Struewer, Founder & CEO of Roots of Impact GmbH, raised the importance of social investment as a tool for sustainable development. According to him, “Explicitly measuring and managing the positive impact on beneficiaries, customers or whole society is the only means by which a social investor can seek to track and optimise the impact of their portfolio. Managing impact is what differentiates social investment from standard investment”.

This event is co-funded by the European Investment Bank Institute and by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Grants Greek NGO Programme “We are all Citizens”. The Bodossaki Foundation is the Fund Operator of this Programme.

Photos: Yanis Lefakis