Process metrics are indicators that allow an examination of progress on gender or social equity overall. They allow thinking beyond “counting” that moves toward valuing. For example, process metrics could allow us to move beyond counting the number of marginalized people in leadership at an investment firm and instead ask about the firm’s gender practices throughout the investment process. Process metrics are particularly important in designing a transformative investment model that seeks to promote equity, as social equity stems not only from improved access to resources and decision making but control over these aspects.
This approach is not simply about gender equity, but about shifting unequal dynamics of power across gender, racial, and socioeconomic divides. Power dynamics show up in investment processes in many ways that can be measured and accounted for. For example, in most cases, knowledge of traditional investments is privileged throughout the scoping, investment readiness, and dealmaking processes, while knowledge of the social need and/or cultural or community systems is not. Successful investment models will have taken explicit measures to value the knowledge and experience of social businesses, NGOs, and communities. Therefore, socially equitable process metrics seek to uncover and account for whether knowledge of traditional investment practice is being privileged above knowledge of social need and/or cultural or community knowledge, and to reweight knowledge values accordingly.
These process metrics, developed in collaboration with key branches of the Australian and Canadian governments, are designed to analyze power structures across a variety of investment processes and can be leveraged to varying degrees in assessing the power dynamics of capital flow across asset classes and the expected return spectrum.