by Dimitar Vlahov, Director of Knowledge & Insights at Sustainable Brands
Since 2011, Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics series of events has presented cutting-edge ideas and practices helping companies measure social and environmental impact.
This year’s conference will focus on adopting science-based goals, improving assessments of risk and impact, setting targets for circularity and net positivity, and upgrading disclosure practices toward integrated reporting. Within the evolution of risk and impact measurement, we are seeing growing demand for proven methodologies and best practices around quantifying social impact in particular — and we are pleased to share that we have more content on that this year than we’ve ever had before (without sacrificing other critical topics such as tackling the climate crisis). Here is a sample of five important frontiers of social impact measurement, each of which will have its own session at New Metrics ’19:
1. Standardizing social outcome measurement.
The field of measuring social outcomes has gotten increasingly rigorous, evidence-based and data-driven, enabled by rapidly improving data availability, relevance and quality — to the point where measurement of social outcomes is starting to be standardized and codified. Evaluating investments in societal wellbeing is therefore getting easier and less costly — if you know where to look for the best methodologies leading this field, that is.
2. Employee contributions to the SDGs.
IMPACT2030 is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on a mission to unlock and activate the passion and skills of the world’s extensive base of employees in order to increase companies’ collective contributions toward reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of that, IMPACT2030 partners have been looking for the most meaningful ways of measuring the outcomes and impact of human capital investments around the SDGs.
Get New & Updates About New Metrics ’19
Learn more about the preeminent conference on sustainability metrics, taking place November 18-20 in Philadelphia.
3. Local community prosperity scores.
Microsoft has developed a new set of social metrics in an effort to better understand local communities in places where the company has data centers or other important operations. Known as ‘community prosperity’ scores, this new set of metrics represents cutting-edge thinking around gaining comprehensive understanding of local communities, helping fine-tune stakeholder engagement initiatives and investment opportunities that best meet the need of each local community.
4. Tracking consumer behavior change on a whole new scale.
#BrandsForGood is a new coalition of brands working together to accelerate the shift toward sustainable living by engaging consumers, raising awareness at scale and helping encourage and support the lifestyle changes that are most meaningful and material to realizing a sustainable future. Leveraging a combination of evidence-based research and brand creativity, the initiative aims to make sustainable lifestyles more aspirational, attainable and rewarding. Not only is this initiative aiming to essentially shift the whole field of marketing, but it’s also creating new success metrics that can help track behavioral and cultural shifts, as well as evolving perceptions of brand impact.
5. The lasting value of partnerships between corporations and non-profits.
Many companies create collaborative relationships with non-profit partners that align with corporate objectives. They typically track and report on metrics such as amount of money donated, number of hours volunteered or number of mouths fed. It is rare, however, for a company to measure these relationships against deeper social impact metrics to assess whether the partnership is truly creating lasting meaningful change. In a quest to understand how community partners might benefit from an increased ability to measure social impact, Caesars Entertainment has piloted a program with key community partners aimed at strengthening their capacity to measure and report their social impact — resulting in new ways of measuring the social impact of collaborative relationships between corporations and non-profits.