Create Impactful Sustainability Initiatives: Guide

Mar 31, 2022 | by Yosy Christy Natalia

How to use data to create more impactful sustainability initiatives?

Impactful Sustainability Initiatives Data is ubiquitous, pervasive, and of utmost importance in today’s date. From large companies to startups, nonprofits to even small-scale businesses, data is required by all and at almost all steps in a business’ journey to study its growth, progress, and prospects. 

Those familiar with impact creation and sustainability would understand the significance of data in impact creation, management, measurement, and reporting. How else can a company report its CSR effort and associated impact if not in the form of data assessment? Data plays a pivotal role in calculating social return on investment (SROI). Both qualitative and quantitative data assume importance for effective and robust impact creation and reporting. 

Need Assessment

In this blog, we will understand how data can be used to create more meaningful and impactful sustainability initiatives and campaigns. For the same, we refer to a local food security program called Peduli Pangan. Robust research and data analysis went into ensuring that the initiative turns into a thumping success. Data was gathered to:

  • Understand and document the need of the local community
  • Quantify the scale of the problem/need
  • Find ways to involve the community in goal setting
  • Design and select the appropriate strategy

Additional mapping helped in understanding which areas hosted people who lost jobs due to the pandemic, areas already covered by other parties and government for support and aid, and section/s of society that were underserved. 

Consider another example, a fitness center decides to introduce changes in its modules and trainers to enhance the quality of training after data gathered from a month-long survey found out that participants were not happy with the training at the gym. 

Impact measurement & management

A thorough understanding of data will help in chalking out a definitive strategy for your CSR/sustainability initiative. Once the desired impact is achieved, measurement and mapping processes throw up data that help in understanding the effectiveness and magnitude of impact achieved while also providing valuable insights for the plan of action and strategy. Data can also be used to promote transparent, evidence-based communication with internal and external stakeholders.

Build credibility

Data gathering, assessment, and management need not be a dull practice. You can play around with it for a deeper, better understanding of your organization and determine if it is aligned with the business agenda and vision. Data assessment can help cut and mitigate risks to a considerable extent and suggest steps to promote and enhance the brand value. 

Stay Accountable

In the end, to be able to steer clear of claims of SDG or greenwashing, an organization needs to factually support its claims of impact achievement which is possible only through showcasing relevant and robust data. Attribution can allow you to show exactly what amount of positive or negative impact can be ascribed to your activities/business. 

The world is entering a new era. In the light of COP26, SDGs, and growing scrutiny on businesses, data can help companies maximize their impact and ensure they have a license to operate.

Read also:

Sustainability Reporting Software for CSR

Why Should Businesses Have Sustainability Report?

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