As the fields of gender lens and impact investing mature, the need to advance the way we do analysis and set benchmarks for better practice has become ever more pronounced. We’ve seen a growing number of standard setters, from governments to investors, willing to use their power to ask for more from their investments, but not quite sure where to start. Meanwhile, progress towards critical social change outcomes remains painfully slow, with little certainty around attribution or indication of how we might actually get there.  

The work of Criterion Institute is fundamentally about challenging power dynamics in finance as part of the work of social change. Today, we’re going to focus on how standard setters such as governments and other asset owners might disrupt power, privilege and bias within a very specific area of investment practice: how investors manage cost factors, and what is deemed an acceptable cost of doing business. This and other standards were developed as part of the work that Criterion has done over the last several years, alongside many friends and funders including Global Affairs Canada, 2X Global, UNICEF, MEDA and ANDE.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:29 - Intro
  • 02:13 - Challenging Norms and Assumptions about Costs
  • 03:35 - What the Standards are About
  • 04:56 - A Second Power Dynamic
  • 06:52 - What the Standard is Asking for
  • 09:05 - Standard Setters Seeking Change

Relevant Links: