Accountability and Third-party Independent Verification in Impact Investing: The Case of Bluemark

Chiara Andreoli, Sandro Brunelli, Paolo Taticchi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The financial community has increasingly adopted Impact investing to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Among the total amount of sustainable investments, $715 billion is the estimated market size of impact investments, and it is expected to increase exponentially over the next few years. However, to scale Impact investing with integrity, both universal standards for impact measurement and management and a reliable mechanism to verify impact claims and practices are needed. Labelling a project or investment as impactful without the actions and accountability to back it up is of no value. Regulations development, concerns about the integrity of Impact investing, and the impact information gap are key drivers of the demand for independent impact verification of approaches to impact measurement, management and reporting. It is essential to have a third-party impact verification perspective on investors’ impact actions, practices, and performance. This would increase the trust and accountability of social impact in the Impact investing market, similarly to independent assurance and third-party ratings in traditional financial markets. This chapter hinges on the social impact measurement literature to dive into the salient role of third-party impact verification, in light of the main issues in the Impact investing market, such as “impact washing”. BlueMark, a leading provider of independent impact verification services for investors and organisations, will be presented as a single case study. It exemplifies the key role of third-party verification to hold investors and enterprises accountable for social impact. Primary data were collected through interviews with two directors of BlueMark and from the company website. These findings were combined with data gathered during the workshops of the IMmPACT project, held at UCL School of Management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Organizations : Measurement, Management and Corporate Reporting
EditorsCristiano Busco, Costanza Consolandi, Irma Malafronte, Fabrizio Sammarco, Elisabetta Scognamiglio
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)9781032612713, 9781032612720
ISBN (Electronic)9781003462835, 9781003826675
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesRoutledge-Giappichelli Studies in Business and Management

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