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« Do CSR Reports Really Tell Us Anything About Businesses' Social Impact? | Main | Making the Shift: From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Sustainability »

Measuring Sustainability & Social Impact 

Maureen Feldman
September, 2013

Globally, we face multiple environmental and social challenges. Citizens of the world, aware governments are not equipped to address these issues alone, believe corporate business should play an active role by integrating impactful, sustainable, social programs into their corporate standards. A new wave of younger employees and consumers in the United States, Asia and Europe are publicly demanding more sustainable products and practices. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Net Impact, 85% of university students said they would take a 15% pay cut to work for an organization with values that match their own.  

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has evolved and become standard practice for innovative corporations, however; simply implementing a CSR program without a meaningful method to measure outcomes, is no longer adequate. Trends indicate corporations that realize the value of measuring their CSR initiatives, and weave sustainability efforts into their CSR standards, build trust between communities, ultimately associating their corporate reputations with social impact. While there is currently no standard practice for measuring social impact, corporations that devise innovative business models that meet their bottom line, while creating sustainability, will become the global leaders in today’s market place.

Ernst Ligteringen, chief executive of the Global Reporting Initiative says, “Measuring performance helps to scale up the contribution business makes globally to sustainable development.”  Measuring social impact is a complex and difficult challenge, yet the benefits of the measurement process will create an environment of transparency and accountability, appealing to today’s younger more diverse workforce. 

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