• B Corporation

    • IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISING

      A benefit corporation that is certified by B Lab.

    Practice & Source: (1) Social enterprise: MIIS Impact: A Glossary for Impact Investing
  • B Lab

    • IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISING

      B Lab is a non-profit organization headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which created, and awards, the B Corporation certification for for-profit organizations.

    Practice & Source: (1) Social enterprise: Wikipedia
    Commentary

    B Lab is the non-profit organization which: created and awards the B Corporation certification for for-profit organizations; operates GIIRS, a ratings agency and analytics platform for impact investors; and works to pass legislation for new corporate forms that facilitate companies pursuing social and environmental benefits in addition to profit.

  • Base case

    • IN FINANCE

      In reference to a financial model, or financial projections, the expected case of the model using the assumptions that management deems most likely to occur. The financial results for the base case should be better than those for the conservative case but worse than those for the aggressive, or upside case.

    • IN ECONOMICS

      A base case (also called a no build), which is a realistic representation of expected future conditions without the project,

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: : Go BIG Dictionary, Invstor.com (2) Economics: Transportation Benefit-Cost Analysis
    Commentary

    A base case can either be a prediction of the most likely scenario, or a prediction of what will happen without a particular intervention or decision.

  • Base of Pyramid (BoP)

    • IN FINANCE

      The Base of the Pyramid (BoP) theory suggests that new business opportunities lie in designing and distributing goods and services for poor communities. The idea is espoused by influential US business school academics CK Prahalad and Stuart Hart, who argue that companies can help eradicate poverty by providing goods and services for the 4bn people who live on less than $2 a day – this group is known as the base of the pyramid.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Financial Times Lexicon
    Commentary

    Though “base of the pyramid” is often used to mainly refer to poor communities in developing countries, Franklin D. Roosevelt used “bottom of the pyramid” in his 1932 radio address, The Forgotten Man, which referred to the plight of the American farmer and the importance of building economic power from the bottom up rather than the top down.

  • Baseline

    • IN EVALUATION

      Data that describes the condition of the population at the beginning of the study. Used for comparison with conditions after the study.

    • IN BUSINESS

      Clearly defined starting point (point of departure) from where implementation begins, improvement is judged, or comparison is made.

    • IN EVALUATING

      Baseline—the status of services and outcome-related measures such as knowledge, attitudes, norms, behaviors, and conditions before an intervention, against which progress can be assessed or comparisons made.

  • Benchmark

    • IN EVALUATING

      Reference point or standard against which performance or achievements can be assessed. A benchmark refers to the performance that has been achieved in the recent past by other comparable organizations, or what can be reasonably inferred to have been achieved in the circumstances.

    • IN BUSINESS

      Standard, or a set of standards, used as a point of reference for evaluating performance or level of quality. Benchmarks may be drawn from a firm’s own experience, from the experience of other firms in the industry, or from legal requirements such as environmental regulations.

    • IN FINANCE

      A point of reference that is used to compare investment performance. It forms an objective test of the effective implementation of an investment strategy.  Benchmarks allow returns and variations in investment returns to be measured and attributed, thereby making it possible to determine how effectively investors have performed against them.

    • IN FINANCE

      A benchmark is a standard against which the performance of a security, mutual fund or investment manager can be measured. Generally, broad market and market-segment stock and bond indexes are used for this purpose.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation: DAC/OECD Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management (2) Business/CSR: BusinessDictionary.com (3) Finance / impact investing: Financial Times Lexicon (4) Finance / impact investing: Investopedia
    Commentary

    In evaluation, a benchmark is a reference point or standard against which performance or achievement is assessed. In business, it is the systematic process of evaluating products, services, or work processes of organizations relative to good or best practices in the industry concerned. In finance, it is a composite index against which the performance of a financial product is measured

  • Beneficiary(ies)

    • IN EVALUATING

      The individuals, groups, or organizations, whether targeted or not, that benefit, directly or indirectly, from the intervention.

    • IN FINANCE

      Any person who gains an advantage and/or profits from something. In the financial world, a beneficiary typically refers to someone who is eligible to receive distributions from a trust, will or life insurance policy. Beneficiaries are either named specifically in these documents or have met the stipulations that make them eligible for whatever distribution is specified.

    • IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISING

      Individuals for which the organization intends to provide opportunities through consumption, production, or distribution of its products or services.

    Commentary

    In evaluation and social enterprise, beneficiaries are the entities that benefit directly or indirectly from an intervention. In the financial world, a beneficiary refers to someone who is eligible to receive distributions from a trust, will or life insurance policy.

    In recent years, several players in international development and social enterprise have begun to use “client,” “customer,” “user,” “end-user,” “constituent,” and “stakeholder” in place of “beneficiary” as part of a movement to recognize those individuals who benefit directly from an intervention as active participants, rather than passive recipients. Though each of these terms vary slightly in meaning, they are often used interchangeably.

  • Benefit Corporation

    • IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISING

      A class of corporation that voluntarily meets higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency. The major characteristics of the benefit corporation form are: 1) a requirement that a benefit corporation must have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment; 2) an expansion of the duties of directors to require consideration of non-financial stakeholders as well as the financial interests of shareholders; and 3) an obligation to report on its overall social and environmental performance using a comprehensive, credible, independent and transparent third-party standard. The enacting state’s benefit corporation statutes are placed within existing state corporation codes so that the enacting state’s existing corporation code applies to benefit corporations in every respect except those explicit provisions unique in the benefit corporation form.

    Practice & Source: (1) Social enterprise: MIIS Impact: A Glossary for Impact Investing
    Commentary

    A Benefit Corporation is not the same as a B Corporation, as the latter requires being certified by the nonprofit organization, B Lab.

  • Benefit transfer (Noun)

    • IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

      A practice used to estimate economic values for ecosystem services by transferring information available from studies already completed in one location or context to another. This can be done as a unit value transfer or a function transfer.

    Practice & Source: (1) Sustainable development: OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms
  • Bias

    • IN GENERAL

      Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.

    • IN EVALUATING

      The extent to which a measurement, sampling, or analytic method systematically underestimates or overestimates the true value of a variable or attribute.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries (2) Evaluation: USAID Glossary of Evaluation Terms
    Commentary

    There are technical and psychological / behavioral sources of bias. In evaluation, the concept of fairness is not relevant to the use of the term bias.

  • Blended value

    • IN FINANCE

      A term coined by Jed Emerson at Stanford University to describe social, financial, and environmental value created by all organizations’ activities (whether non-profit or for-profit). When investors acknowledge these value components, they can be more focused about their investments in organizations that create the mix and amount of value that matched their own values.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: The Dictionary of Sustainable Management
  • Bond

    • IN FINANCE

      An agreement with legal force.

    • IN FINANCE

      A debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity (typically corporate or governmental) which borrows the funds for a defined period of time at a variable or fixed interest rate. Bonds are used by companies, municipalities, states and sovereign governments to raise money and finance a variety of projects and activities. Owners of bonds are debt holders, or creditors, of the issuer.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Oxford Living Dictionaries (2) Finance / impact investing: Investopedia
  • Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP)

    • IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISING

      See “Base of Pyramid (BoP)”

  • Bounded rationality

    • IN BUSINESS

      Concept that decision makers (irrespective of their level of intelligence) have to work under three unavoidable constraints: (1) only limited, often unreliable, information is available regarding possible alternatives and their consequences, (2) human mind has only limited capacity to evaluate and process the information that is available, and (3) only a limited amount of time is available to make a decision. Therefore even individuals who intend to make rational choices are bound to make satisficing (rather than maximizing or optimizing) choices in complex situations. These limits (bounds) on rationality also make it nearly impossible to draw up contracts that cover every contingency, necessitating reliance on rules of thumb.

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: BusinessDictionary.com