Our Story


The Big Bang

The original idea for the Index was conceived within the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Philanthropy and Social Investing.

Our First Index

In April 2013, the Social Progress Imperative launched its first research product, the Social Progress Index, at the 10th annual Skoll World Forum, held at the University of Oxford.

Concept to Action

We are building on work by Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi for France’s Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress to create real-world change.



Seed of an Idea—Competition for Good

The original idea for the Social Progress Index was conceived within the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Philanthropy and Social Investing, chaired by The Economist’s New York Bureau Chief Matthew Bishop, who took up the challenge in 2009 to increase the impact that social entrepreneurs, business leaders and policy makers can have in the world. In 2009, the Council proposed creating a new index, inspired by the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), to spur competition between nations to improve the environment for social innovation in the way the competitiveness index has done for enablers of economic growth.


Getting Down to Details

Council member Brizio Biondi-Morra, Chair of Fundación Avina, secured seed funding from Avina and the Skoll Foundation to analyze the feasibility of a new index, and start-up funds from Compartamos Banco. Biondi-Morra invited Sally Osberg, President of the Skoll Foundation, and Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui, Managing Partner of IGNIA to serve on the Social Progress Imperative Board of Directors. Subsequently, Michael Green of Philanthrocapitalism joined the Board of Directors and later became Executive Director.


The First Index

Professor Michael E. Porter, Chair of the Social Progress Imperative Advisory Board, launches the beta Social Progress Index of 50 countries at the 2013 Skoll World Forum.


The First Partner Index

Imazon and other members of the new #Progreso Social Brasil network create a Social Progress Index for the entire Brazilian Amazon, an area the size of the European Union. It is the first published application of the Social Progress Index methodology for an area other than a country.


Regional Focus

The business school INCAE becomes the first partner organization to formally lead a regional effort on behalf of the Social Progress Imperative. Progreso Social Mesoamérica starts to coordinate efforts across Central America.