Award for impact research: Harvard Business School

Channels: IMPACT

Companies: Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School (HBS) has been recognised for expanding upon a history of research and engagement with the fields of impact investing and social enterprise with two initiatives.

The Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative (IWAI) was launched to drive the creation of financial accounts that reflect a company's financial, social, and environmental performance. IWAI's ambition is ultimately to create accounting statements that transparently capture external impacts in a way that drives investor and managerial decision making.

The project has produced a methodology that builds upon metric providers' work to tie organisational outputs – from greenhouse gas emissions, to the impacts on wellbeing – using information that is in the public domain.

IWAI was able to demonstrate industry- and firm-specific differences and improvement over existing ESG ratings.

Additionally, HBS' Business & the Environment Initiative (BEI) saw significant expansion in its staffing and reach in order to meet pressing needs at the intersection of business and environmental action, particularly in the area of finance.

Over the course of the year, BEI launched the Climate Rising podcast series and hosted a ground-breaking conference, Risks, Opportunities, and Investment in the Era of Climate Change all with the aim of advancing research among key decision-makers impacted by climate change.

HBS also hosted an exhibit focused on the sector of impact research, which was available virtually, Confronting Climate Change: From Business as Usual to Business as Vital.

The exhibit focuses on the key sectors contributing to climate change, detailing the science and the issues associated with these sectors, and underscores the key role that managers play in confronting climate change in the market sectors in which they operate. In addition, the exhibit features over 50 HBS alumni, students and faculty members using their careers to confront climate change.