Impact as an engine

How to measure social and environmental impact of programs? Wich indicators? This question is at the heart of ENGIE Foundation’s concerns. Beyond the number of beneficiaries reached, it is a question of understanding how a museum’s visit, listening to a concert or electrifying a village have a real and long-term impact, on beneficiarie’s life, but also on all of the project’s stakeholders and on a given territory.

For all projects, ENGIE Foundation attaches increasing importance to the evaluation of actions. Each agreement signed with a partner thus includes the obligation to submit, once a year, an evaluation file to verify that results are in line with the set objectives. This rigor and transparency are essential, both with regard to shareholders and employees of ENGIE Group.
Since 2019, ENGIE Foundation has been carrying out in-depth work to set up identical monitoring indicators that apply to all projects, regardless of the field of intervention or the public. This work will be finalized during 2020. Here some elements on the guiding principles that will guide the reflection:

1. Take into account a triple impact
2. Distinguish between actions and results
3. Set realistic goals and build on results to make progress

Taking into account a triple impact

– The social impact on beneficiaries

Who benefited from the programme and how? Direct and indirect beneficiaries? We refine our criterion to see, for example, beyond access to education, what educational results, what effectiveness in giving a chance to

– Environnemental Impact within the ecosystem

Has the programme inspired other initiatives? Did it bring together more actors as it progressed? Has it advanced the cause or advocacy and how?

The impact on ENGIE group’s employees or on the Foundation’s other partner associations

How were they involved?

A project is in fact the meeting between the project leader, the beneficiaries and the Foundation. How does it work, how does it advance our shared objective? This is what we measure throughout.


Philippe Peyrat General Delegate of ENGIE Foundation

Distinguishing actions from results

The actions correspond to an inventory of the actions carried out (e.g., number of concerts or educational actions supported, number of photovoltaic panels installed) and the number of beneficiaries reached (direct and indirect beneficiaries).

The results correspond to the “real” impact of the actions: how have they made it possible to change the lives of the beneficiaries over time? How have they made it possible to change their behaviour or skills? For example: number of people coming out of poverty, improvement in school results, etc.

« The number of beneficiaries is not the totality of actions. At the Opera, we are not in the race for the number of beneficiaries. It’s a choice, we prefer to work in the long term, to have a real impact on lives. Moreover, the study conducted with Sciences Po and the CNRS has shown that the 10 year course at the Opera had a positive impact on the results of the secondary school certificate. »

Myriam Mazouzi, Director of the Paris Opera Academy

Set realistic goals and build on results to make progress

It is, sure, essential to set indicators to measure the impact. Each indicator must also be associated with a target for achievement. It is not necessarily easy to set a “course” for each indicator. Setting targets in terms of reducing the poverty rate is more complex than defining the number of photovoltaic panels to be installed. Setting targets in terms of acquiring “soft skills” for disadvantaged children is more complex than agreeing on a number of educational actions. However, it is essential to set a course. This is what enables progress to be made. Indeed, it is by analysing the differences between objectives and achievements that corrective measures can be implemented… to increase their social and environmental impact.

Life beyond numbers

Behind each “beneficiary” is a child, a family, a woman, with her story, her ills, her joys and her obstacles. Sometimes, culture, sport or education creates the trigger that changes life. Often, energy is the trigger to get out of poverty. But one thing is certain, to have a lasting social and environnemental impact, it is better to work for the long term.

This is why ENGIE Foundation prefers support programmes over the long term, on agreements of at least two years. Far from “zapping” philanthropy. It is also keen to meet the “beneficiaries” in the field, via the ENGIE group’s regional delegations and in partnership with its partners.

Key success factors according to the ENGIE Foundation

Long-term support: no “zapping” support but long-term support for beneficiaries

Betting on excellence and commitment: beneficiaries are accompanied by the best mediators or experts. In exchange, they are ready to commit to creating a project.

Anchoring in the territories: networking with stakeholders in each territory helps to anchor projects and multiply their social and environmental impact.

« The ability to build and get involved together is also a guarantee project impact. The impact starts with motivation and temperament of the project’s leaders. The more project leaders are involved, the more project will flourish in the long term.  »

Chekeba Hachemi, President of Afghanistan Libre, Director of ENGIE Foundation