The Luxembourg microfinance community has just added a new member – the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) launched its European presence, headed by Jurgen Hammer in the House of Microfinance, Luxembourg. For us at e-MFP, this is a very welcome step!
The Social Performance Task Force is a major force in the financial inclusion sector, having spent the past decade developing a range of standards and tools to measure the too-often overlooked second part of the double bottom line – standards and tools based on long-running consultations and input from practitioners, investors, and assessors. What SPTF has been doing is no less than developing the social equivalent of the accounting standards that emerged a century ago. But SPTF’s work goes further still. After all, while good accounting standards are aimed to accurately reflect an organisation’s assets, revenues and cash flow, they say relatively little, if anything, about its operations, let alone the client experience – a far greater challenge.
The simultaneously meticulous and broad-based approach that SPTF has deployed over the years in developing its suite of social performance monitoring tools with its partners should be the standard for social investors generally, and not solely in financial inclusion. After all, regardless of intentions or motivations, it’s metrics that ultimately drive decisions. When investments are made on the basis of robust financial metrics and little more than feel-good social statements of intent, there should be little surprise that the resulting outcomes of such an ostensibly social investment strategy differ little from what a traditional investing strategy would produce. To be truly social, investors must be assured that the metrics used for both parts of the double-bottom line are equally consistent and robust.
Luxembourg is a global center for impact and socially responsible investing, including in financial inclusion. SPTF opening its doors here will help greatly raise awareness of its work and the importance of robust social metrics among a far greater community of investors than has been possible to date. We welcome this development with open arms and look forward to taking our long-running collaboration with SPTF to new heights. And as we welcome SPTF, we raise our hats in appreciation to those who have made this important step possible – in particular the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Wilkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome! Wëllkomm!