Making Impact Work: Lessons on how to simplify impact assessment in eco-inclusive enterprise support – White Paper: adelphi Green Entrepreneurship Team

Gutierrez, Lina; Simon Mühlbauer, Camiel Petterson and Mirko Zuerker 2022: Making Impact Work: Lessons on how to simplify impact assessment in eco-inclusive enterprise support. White Paper: adelphi Green Entrepreneurship Team. Berlin: adelphi research gGmbH.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 90 per cent of businesses worldwide and account for 50 per cent of employment. In emerging economies, SMEs make up 40 per cent of GDP and are responsible for 7 out of 10 newly created jobs. They play a pivotal role in the transition to a just, inclusive and green economy. To further explore the economic, environmental and social impacts of SMEs and to improve our support to SMEs delivering impact, we need to dig deeper into how SMEs plan, measure and report their impact. It is important to place enterprises at the centre of the impact journey, and, therefore, our assessment.

Impact assessment for eco-inclusive enterprises remains a challenging process. Due to the heterogeneity of eco-inclusive enterprises and their diverse impacts, a comprehensive assessment is a complex process. Moreover, impact assessment is resource intensive and enterprises often do not have time and money dedicated to impact assessment, as they focus on implementing their primary activities. Even though impact happens locally, impact assessment standards are frequently designed as high-level goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, we have to bridge this gap between high-level agendas and local level impact when we try to improve impact assessment.

At the adelphi Green Entrepreneurship Team, we have embarked on a journey to improve impact assessment for eco-inclusive enterprises. This White Paper shares our lessons learnt to make impact assessment work for SMEs.