Measuring social performance

A company’s financial performance can draw on the tried and tested tools so important to funders, but how is its social performance assessed? A number of funders are starting to look at the social added value of their investments, with the result that more socially responsible indicators are appearing every year.

The primary mission of microfinance institutions (MFI) is to fight poverty and social exclusion. Measuring social performance would seem intrinsic to this mission. However, the question arises of whether they play an effective role in this fight and whether the financial services they offer are suited to it. Social performance indicators are vital at a time when MFI are subject to a great many problems—including outstanding payments, bankruptcies and massive loss of interest by clients—and criticism. In seeking to make disadvantaged populations’ access to the basic financial services of savings and credit profitable by applying increasingly similar techniques and rules to those used in commercial finance, does not microfinance risk appearing as a segment of the international finance market targeting the destitute?

Solidarity finance sees microcredit and savings as tools to be used for human and social development. Its core activity therefore comprises strengthening social ties, adapting to the contexts and environments it operates in, structuring social capital and helping its clients to become autonomous. It is thus necessary to create indicators for identifying and placing value on the real work undertaken by solidarity finance, and translate its social mission into practical terms.

3 publications

One case study

4 Analyses/working papers/articles

5 public contributions