We propose that an additional vocabulary list be included for results reporting: the Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector (HIPSO). HIPSO represents a list of 38 reporting indicators that split up across 15 different sectors and industries (including cross-cutting). They have definitions that have been agreed upon by 25 different IFIs from around the world, including a number of IATI publishers (IFC, ADB, CDC, EBRD, EIB, FMO, etc.)
The broad range of structures, mandates and shareholders of IFIs working with the private sector means that there are many different systems used to track development results. The shared clients of these IFIs therefore often endure an unintended burden deriving from the IFIs’ different reporting requirements, including similar indicators (with different definitions) meant to capture the same data.
Efforts to mitigate this burden began in 2008, and progress accelerated 4 years later when over 20 IFIs formed a Working Group on Indicator Harmonization that agreed to benchmark indicators for private sector investment operations and seek examples of best practice for shared adoption. Over 400 indicators used by the IFIs involved in the effort were reviewed while the Working Group grew to include 25 IFIs.
A first set of 27 indicators was agreed in the form of an MoU, signed in October 2013. It mandates that (I) if an IFI tracks development results, it will use the harmonized definitions and units of measurement; and (ii) if it has a results tracking system in place that already features indicators that are the same as the harmonized ones, it will replace them accordingly. There is no obligation, however, to start tracking and using the harmonized indicators if an IFI does not wish to track the development outcomes they capture.
In October 2015, the MoU was amended, to include the harmonized definitions of an additional 11 indicators for private sector operations, making a total of 38 indicators.
These indicators are also available for download in Excel format, and may be used by any entity wishing to use them. Prospective users are encouraged to register on the HIPSO website to be recognized as official users and enjoy the benefits of such recognition (e.g., receive relevant communications, guidance on the use of indicators).
Fifteen of the HIPSO indicators are aligned to IRIS metrics. IRIS is the catalog of generally-accepted performance metrics that leading impact investors use to measure their social, environmental, and financial performance. Click here to learn more about how IRIS and the HIPSO indicators work together.