The Impact Radar offers a holistic set of impact areas and topics across the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social), which can be used by private finance and business to understand and manage positive and negative impacts across the three pillars. The impact areas and topics are defined based on internationally recognized standards and definitions, including the SDGs.

  • Download the Impact Radar here

Evidence shows that funding for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is far below what is needed and that the gap has in fact widened in the wake of multiple planetary crises.

As seen in UNEP FI’s flagship publication, Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs, a holistic impact reading of business practices and country needs and priorities is required to help close the financing gap. A holistic approach is key in that it enables contextualised priority setting and the leveraging of the interlinkages between different sustainability topics.

The Impact Radar, a compilation of Impact Areas and Topics across the three pillars of sustainable development, is a core resource developed by UNEP FI to help operationalise this holistic approach.

The Radar is the basis of various mappings and, as such, has also become the cornerstone of UNEP FI’s Holistic Impact Tools and related guidance surrounding impact management.

About the 2022 Revised Edition

Building on over three years of experimentation and usage by a growing community of practice both within and beyond UNEP FI’s membership, the Impact Radar has been revised for even better impact analysis and management.

The present revised edition of the Radar was prepared to reflect the lessons learned from over three years of experimentation and usage by a growing community of practice both within and beyond UNEP FI’s membership.

The new edition also seeks to respond to the growing need and demand for interoperability, a topic for which UNEP FI has become a champion through its work as co-chair of the Impact Management Platform, a collaboration between leading providers of public good standards and guidance for managing sustainability impacts.

With this revised Impact Radar, our aspiration is to continue to spearhead and facilitate holistic impact analysis and management, as the key to unlocking the impact-ready
and impact-based economy we need to deliver the SDGs.

New features of the revised Radar include:

  • A streamlined set of Impact Areas
  • Introduction of Impact Topics within the Impact Areas for enhanced granularity
  • Explicit reference to human rights issues such as modern slavery and child labour
Additional Resources
  • Watch the launch and walk-through of the new Impact Radar, featuring UNEP FI, RBInternational and Alex Bank here
  • Access the previous version of the Impact Radar here
FAQs

Why are the Impact Areas/Topics not a direct translation of the SDGs?

Many of the Impact Areas/Topics and SDGs are the same such as food, housing, climate, etc., but there are a few which are different. This is because some Impact Areas are systems i.e., they are a collection of several Impact Areas e.g., SDG 11/Sustainable Cities and Communities. Other SDGs are closely connected e.g. SDG 1/No Poverty is in many ways an aspect or corollary of SDG10/Reduce Inequalities and SDG8/Decent Work. In other cases, an Impact Area is spread over more than one SDG, such as biodiversity and ecosystems, which is reflected in SDG 14 /Life Below Water and SDG 15/Life on Land. For the purpose of impact analysis, it is important that Impact Areas and Topics are specific and distinguishable from each other, hence the existence of the Impact Radar, as a means of operationalizing the global frameworks in the specific context of private finance and business.

What is the basis on which the Impact Areas and Impact Topics are identified?

a) They are concepts that are universally valid and relevant, to allow their use by all practitioners, regardless of their type, size, structure and operational context; b) they can be anchored in internationally recognized norms and definitions; c) they are formulated to allow their use for both positive and negative impact identification and assessment; and d) where possible, they are already in use, hence tested by practitioners for impact analysis.

Why are human rights not an Impact Area/Topic in the Impact Radar? What about well-being?

Human rights relate to all the Impact Areas and Topics (as they do to all the SDGs) and cannot be isolated as a standalone Impact Area/Topic in the Impact Radar. Much in the same way that they are not named as a standalone Sustainable Development Goal. For the benefit of practitioners using frameworks such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, some of the main human rights issues (i.e. often identified as ‘salient’ by practitioners when implementing these frameworks) have been mapped to the corresponding Impact Areas and Topics in the UNEP FI Impact Mappings and Impact Analysis Tools. The highlighted Impact Areas and Topics are: Integrity & Security of Persons (Modern Slavery and Child Labour), Livelihood (Employment, Wages and Social Protection) and Equality & Justice (Gender Equality, Ethnic/Racial Equality, Age Discrimination and Other Vulnerable Groups).

With regard to well-being, following OECD’s definition, it is considered a composite Impact Topic, thus many of the social Impact Topics fall underneath this definition.

Feedback

Help us to improve the Impact Radar!

  • If you are a bank, please share your user experience and feedback with us
  • If you are a topic or impact expert, help us to refine the Radar’s associated mappings
Contacts

Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme, 2022

This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form for educational or non-profit purposes without special permission, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication that uses this publication as a source. No use of this publication may be made for resale or for any other commercial purpose whatsoever without prior permission in writing from the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Moreover, the views expressed do not necessarily represent the decision or the stated policy of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, nor does citing of trade names or commercial processes constitute endorsement.

© Maps, photos and illustrations as specified

Disclaimer 

It is our hope that the Impact Radar will be a source of inspiration to many organisations as they develop their in-house impact management capabilities and/or any advisory services and products on impact management for third parties.

Any resources, tools, systems, products or services developed based on, referring to or otherwise using the Impact Radar should acknowledge UNEP FI, however, the results, as well as any associated outcomes and decisions made based on such resources, are exclusively attributable to their developers and their own interpretation of the Impact Radar. In no case may these be assumed to be aligned with UNEP FI’s views and methodologies and/or to have been validated, approved or otherwise certified by UNEP FI.

UNEP FI does not provide advisory services or certification for any resources, tools, systems, products or services developed based on, referring to or otherwising using the Impact Radar.