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A methodology to assess the Real Impact of funds on social and environmental issues.


This is a methodology for holistically assessing the social and environmental impact of investments, originally authored by Real Impact Tracker to assess public equity and debt fund managers. It applies internationally.

The actual methodology is a file called '' in this repository.

Use Cases

This approach addresses the question: How can investors have the most positive impact? The focus is on actions that investors can take, not simply what companies are in the portfolio. The three main sections are

  • ESG Strategy
  • Shareholder Advocacy
  • Public Sphere

More general description and examples of the application of the methodology are available at

How to contribute

Git for Newcomers

We appreciate that software best practices, Git version control, and GitHub, may be new to many of you who are interested in sustainable finance. For some quick background, GitHub publishes a 10 minute tutorial to learn the basics without needing to write any code.

You're likely familiar with Microsoft Word where you can track changes, and you end up naming each file "MyDocument Final" and then "Final Final" and "Final PatrickEdit March 15."

Git version control makes it easy to keep one "master" version while at the same time working on alternative branches, collaboratively, and then seamlessly merge branches together when you're ready.

When you want to contribute to this methodology, the preferred way is to open a pull request in this repository, which you can do by clicking "Create New Pull Request" in the tab labeled "Pull Requests."

File Format

We chose the methodology itself to be in a Markdown file format.


  • Is meant for you to understand while reading the raw file, without needing to open any application
  • Supports basic display formatting (such as headings and tables)
  • Works well with file version control such as Git

Markdown is designed to be accessible to you to read and understand, even if you've never heard of Markdown. This Readme is in Markdown. If you want to learn more, GitHub also hosts a 5-min Markdown introduction


If you are trying to contribute but are getting stuck when using this tool, you can reach us by email at, and we will try to help.


This is covered by an LGPL license, which was originally meant for software libraries. While this Methodology is not software, it is a recipe for creating an output (ratings) given input (data). Using the LGPL fits our use case, and this license has been well tested over the years.

For those of you who aren't familiar with open source licensing, here is a gist and a few Do's and Don't's. This is not meant as legal interpretation to replace the license, which you can read by clicking on 'License.'

The Gist:

If you want to redistribute this work as part of your own work, you must include this same license (or a compatible one) and the 'source code' (disclose the methodology). If you modify this work, you must submit your modifications back to the authors (conveniently via this Github repository), so the project can benefit from any potential improvements. Under the LGPL, the copyleft protections refer to this work and modifications directly related to it, not other unrelated aspects of a larger project.

You can:

  • Download, share, and otherwise distribute
  • Use or modify this methodology in any way for an internal project, even commercial
  • Use or modify this methodology for a project you distribute, even commercial, as long as you maintain the license and disclose your modifications

You cannot:

  • Re-distribute this under a different license
  • Abuse the Real Impact Tracker trademark
  • Distribute this in a project without disclosing the source and reproducing the license

The goal is transparency and community improvement.

If you have questions about the license, please contact us.


A methodology to assess the Real Impact of funds on social and environmental issues.







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