Impact Measurement & Management for Environmental Project

Feb 17, 2022 | by Yosy Christy Natalia

Impact Measurement and Management: The Purpose

Assessing the quality and quantifiable property of impact is extremely crucial for an impact organization to judge the efficacy of its operations and realize its vision. It is to map an organization’s track in its impact journey while also exhibiting a clear and transparent record of the same to stakeholders and other relevant parties. Impact measurement and management (IMM) also:       

  • Increase the positive effects of your projects on people and the planet
  • Avoid any negative effects created in the process
  • Identify, manage and mitigate risks, threats and challenges
  • Provide data and insights on current interventions
  • Evaluation of strategy

Measurement & Management (IMM) for environmental projects

Broadly speaking, the process of impact management and measurement, more or less, remains the same across impact organizations. Different organizations customize their impact journey and associated protocol accordingly, also adhering to the standard framework. 

Measuring the environmental impact of an organization enables the formulation and effective implementation of an environmental sustainability strategy and the first step in that direction is the collection of environmental data. However, measuring environmental impact can be quite challenging as it is not always very easy to gather relevant data from stakeholders. Another hurdle is to assess the quantitative aspect of the impact. For example, how can we assess the change in the quality of lifestyle in residents of West Java after undertaking a massive plantation drive? This is where footprints come into play as metrics. 

Impact Measurement and Management: Footprints

Often, companies that are perceived to be doing a lot to mitigate environmental woes end up not having any considerably reduced impact when a footprint calculator measures it. This is often due to lack of awareness and the after-effects of self-assessing and falsely lauding environmental impacts. Therefore, footprint tools become central to accurate and effective environmental impact assessment. 

Footprints offer broader coverage in terms of environmental impact assessment. Some of the most common and widely used footprints for environmental impact management and measurement include carbon footprint, ecological footprint, water footprint, among others. 

While carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, water footprint is the marker of fresh water available for consumption. Ecological footprint, considered the most comprehensive of all, measures the impact of all sorts of human activities on nature. 

Data collection for environmental organizations also includes records on energy consumption, data on emissions, energy star ratings, among others.

Thorough and robust impact measurement and management exercises are important to avoid coming across as an entity involved in SDG washing or greenwashing. Attempts of SDG washing or greenwashing are more peculiar to environmental impact initiatives where there is a larger scope to passing off partial success as an impact win. 

Impact measurement and management (IMM) ensures that an organization is reporting its activities and outputs and not just the outcomes that make it look good. It promotes comparability, accountability, and transparency – a complete picture backed by evidence.  If you seek to learn about impact management, measurement, and creation from scratch, refer to our detailed blogs and explainers here

Read also:

Impact Measurement & Management (IMM) and Risk Management

Investing for Social and Environmental Impact

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