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The catalytic effects of DFI investment: gender equality, climate action and the harmonisation of impact standards


EDFI & ODI launch 2nd essay series exploring the catalytic effects of DFIs and private impact investors on gender equality, climate change action, and the benefits of harmonising impact standards.

Private investment and a robust private sector are fundamental drivers of economic growth and job creation, which are key ingredients to help tackle poverty. Development finance institutions (DFIs), with their core mandates to promote economic growth through their financing, risk sharing and supporting activities, have been assigned a key role in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement.

This step into the limelight has been accompanied by greater scrutiny of DFI strategies and operational issues, including an increased demand by shareholders and other stakeholders to better understand the impact of DFI investment on the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, as well as for greater accountability and transparency on how this impact is achieved.

This essay series focuses on the three themes of the 2021 EDFI impact conference, which was held in May 2021:

  • The catalytic effects of gender-smart investing (Sustainable Development Goal 5)
  • Climate finance impact and related developmental concerns (Sustainable Development Goal 13)
  • The harmonisation of impact management and reporting.

This rich set of essays brings together a wide range of perspectives from academics, researchers and practitioners and covers reviews of impact in these areas, as well as methodological issues which can advance our thinking and understanding in these areas.


Download the essays


Part 1 The catalytic effects of gender-smart investing 
1 The catalytic potential of gender-lens investing – Jessica Espinoza, DEG
2 Improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs – Maaike Platenburg and Mitzi Perez Padilla, FMO
3 How gender-lens investing measures up – Robin Young and Till Bruett, DAI
4 Discovering outcomes in gender-lens investing – Juho Uusihakala, Finnfund; Ilona Mooney, Work Ahead; and Nilah Mitchell, 60 Decibels
5 Development finance institutions and the care economy: opportunities for greater involvement  – Jessica Espinoza Trujano, DEG, and Anne-Marie Lévesque, FinDev Canada
6 The nexus between climate finance and gender-smart investing – Jessica Espinoza, DEG and Bonnie Chiu, The Social Investment Consultancy
7 Harmonisation for speed and efficiency: choice and voice in measuring women’s job quality – Edward T. Jackson, Carleton University and Institute of Development Studies
8 Measuring gender impact: suggestions to build on 2X Challenge progress – Samantha Attridge, ODI, and Matthew Gouett, International Institute for Sustainable Development
Part 2 Climate finance impact and related developmental concerns
9 How are DFIs tackling climate change? – Alberto Lemma, ODI
10 Capturing adaptation opportunities – Anne Arvola and Juho Uusihakala, Finnfund; Mikko Halonen, Gaia Consulting Oy; and Linda Rosengren, Natural Resources Institute Finland
11 Navigating the development impact and Paris alignment of investments in gas power – Paddy Carter, CDC Group
Part 3 Harmonisation of impact management and reporting
12 Operationalising impact management and measurement of SDG-related investments: DFIs’ role in promoting best practice and harmonisation – Priscilla Boiardi and Esme Stout, OECD
13 Impact management – what do public disclosures tell us about the state of practice? – Neil Gregory, International Finance Corporation
14 Bringing consistency to impact management – Paddy Carter, CDC Group
15 How to make harmonisation work: lessons learned from a multi-stakeholder initiative to build the Joint Impact Model – Sabine Dankbaar, Steward Redqueen, Giulia Debernardini, FMO; and Aneese Lelijveld, CDC Group
16 Learning together: the case for a collaborative approach to conducting impact studies – Claudio Cali, Nina Fenton, European Investment Bank; and Matt Ripley, The Good Economy
17 Why the dual nature of DFIs makes harmonised impact measurement difficult and what can be done about it – Suhyon Oh and Michael W. Hansen, Copenhagen Business School