Why are Metrics Important in Corporate Sustainability?
As more and more companies engage in this idea of corporate sustainability, ensuring their business model is centred around the three pillars of economic, social and environmental sustainability, consumers are wanting to see proof of success in these business' efforts to create a better future.
As the number of consumers demanding economic, social and environmental action by companies increases, we see the number of businesses engaging in these practices increase too. However, some companies are not engaging in a meaningful way, which is causing consumers to now demand to see metrics of their actions.
Metrics are something tangible for people to understand and to which they can relate. Providing 100,000 meals for people without stable accomodation is easier to grasp for people than a claim to spending $40,000 on the same thing. Providing 100,000 meals is a commitment which can then be shared on social media, in promotional material, in annual reports and in customer communication (such as e-newsletters). It provides the consumer with a connection to the individuals being affected as well. For example, you customer now knows that their purchase of your company's goods and / or services has directly impacted someone's life - it's no longer just a dollar amount on a piece of paper.
Due to changing consumer demands and increased education around these issues, companies now not only need to have a commitment to corporate sustainability, they need to ensure their commitment is achieving meaningful outcomes. While it may be impressive to donate 100 company hours to volunteering a staff clean-up, it needs to be in a place where this is having an impact. For example, that same 100 hours could be used to pick up 1kg of trash or 15kg of trash depending on the location of the clean-up. It could also be more beneficial in an area such as a protected nature reserve than in an industrial area.
While it can sound glamorous for large companies to commit a substantial amount of money to sustainability efforts, it is important also to take into consideration the lives affected by this money. $10,000 spent ineffectively can make as much impact as $1,000 spent more efficiently.
This is why the role of sustainability experts either within your organisation or working alongside your organisation is extremely important. They can help guide your sustainability practices to ensure you are putting your monetary and human resources to use in the most efficient way possible to make the greatest impact. A sustainability expert can also help you understand changes that can be made to your in-house practices and report on these accurately, so you are able to communicate your sustainability commitment to your shareholders, customers and other stakeholders.
If you would like to know how to engage in sustainability practices in a more meaningful way and have your impact accompanied with metrics you can share with stakeholders, contact a member of our team today!
This article was originally published on the Strategic Sustainability Consultants website.