1. Introduction 3
1.1 The increasing need for intelligent, sustainable innovation 3
1.2 The research programme 3
2. Research report 4
2.1 What is co-creation? 4
2.2 The benefits of co-creation 4
2.3 Does sustainability (and responsibility count)? 5
2.4 Assuring sustainability and responsibility 6
2.5 Applying co-creation to business issues 6
Unilever: co-creation for sustained value 7
2.6 Employees and co-creation 8
2.7 Co-creation experience 9
The value of co-creation 9
2.8 The potential downsides and mitigation 10
3. Conclusions and recommendations 11
4. Suggested next steps 12
Introducing Good Measures 13
Appendix A – survey methodology 15
Co-creation for sustained value
1.1. The increasing need for intelligent, sustainable innovation
In 2011, we received a number of client requests for assistance with the development of new
approaches to developing and implementing corporate sustainability and responsibility strategies.
We had already taken a renewed interest in co-creation approaches, especially as leading advertising
and marketing communication firms were using them to help develop new products and services for
their clients. Our interest was further sparked by the realisation that, as a method, it was being used
to innovate afresh and re-involve a wide spectrum of audiences – from existing to prospective
consumers, shareholders, suppliers and, especially, employees – in order to perpetuate the well
established brand ambassador model. It was also clear that co-creation is able to handle highly
complex subject matter.
No matter how you define or describe corporate sustainability (let alone responsibility), there can be
little doubt that it is a complex and interwoven subject. Moreover, in determining and setting
strategy in these areas, it is vital to explore all audiences’ opinions to build consensus and, more
importantly, surface great ideas from everyone involved in the organisation to find winning solutions.
Co-creation, therefore, appeared to be well suited to sustainability and vice versa. It was also likely
to be aligned with sustaining high-value dialogue about all aspects of corporate behaviour and
improved environmental performance, at a manageable financial and resource cost.
1.2. The research programme
In summer 2012, we decided to ask a university student to help us carry out research into using co-
creation to further corporate sustainability and responsibility. We were extremely fortunate to
secure an internship with a geography undergraduate from St Andrews University, Catriona Brady,
who not only had a deep interest in sustainability policy development, but had also carried out public
research on ‘environmentally conscious behaviours’. Catriona was helped and guided throughout
this process by Good Measures team members, Katherine Rusack and Tom Woodnutt.
The key questions for Catriona were:
a) What is co-creation? How do we define it? Is it different from conventional research and
communication approaches and, if so, how?
b) How does it work? What makes it succeed or fail in terms of behavioural and communication
theory & practice? What are its key benefits and disadvantages?
c) What experience is there of using it in the UK and internationally? In which areas/subjects is it
used, if not directly in sustainability or responsibility?
Catriona used initial desk research to inform both a direct and online research process in July/August
2012. This involved structured interviews with five sustainability experts and detailed responses
from a further 17 online. Potential participants were selected from our own database, or self-
selected from our social media feeds and articles issued via the 2degrees network. The majority of
experts worked for an organisation using co-creation tools in one way or another. All responses have
been reported anonymously to protect both source and author.
2. Research report
2.1. What is co-creation?
Co-creation is a combined research and communication technique for creating, sharing and testing
new concepts and innovative solutions. As it can be multi-audience, multi-media and concurrent, it
is capable of handling and distilling complex subject matter quickly. Co-creation is omnidirectional
yet practical, and a proven approach to the collaborative engagement of diverse audiences. It has
always existed in some form (e.g. electorate and employee focus groups); however, its potential is
now far greater due to advances in communication and online research technology. Forbes recently
identified it as ‘the most accepted model for innovation’ (Forbes, 2011).
Co-creation can be used to engage employees, customers/users, suppliers, shareholders, NGOs,
academics, government bodies and even competitors – sometimes all at once, sometimes
separately. Most importantly, it provides a channel which facilitates core audience feedback on your
organisation, its products/services and behaviour. As it is often an open dialogue, it also allows
people to communicate, create, debate and refine arguments with one another instantly.
The following diagram illustrates how co-creation differs from other approaches to innovation in the
degree of complexity it manages; the number of people or organisations it can engage; the ability to
share ideas/concepts generated; and its fluidity in crossing organisational/international boundaries.
(Source: Forbes, 2011)
2.2. The benefits of co-creation
Co-creation enables organisations to tap into the detailed knowledge, experiences, ideas and
opinions of key stakeholders, and this facilitates decision-making on the development and evolution
of services and products. It therefore allows an organisation to better align the expectations of
stakeholders with its services, products and behaviours, leading to a more resilient and accessible
organisation. In some cases, the data may be real-time and vast, so it provides early warning of
issues and trends which can significantly impact on organisational reputation - Toyota used such an
approach to help it manage the reputational impact of a number of significant vehicle recalls
between 2009 and 2012. Such techniques have also identified strong correlations between
stakeholder perceptions and share value, and are increasingly being used by corporate investors.
In exploring individual experience and desires, it helps shape more customised products and services
which, in turn, create greater stakeholder loyalty. This extended stakeholder ‘voice’ improves
employee engagement, customer satisfaction and shareholder relations, building stronger brands
and corporate reputation. Carefully managed, co-creation even allows organisations to react to
criticism and rebuild positivity based on individual perceptions and views, as in the case of Toyota.
Overall, co-creation enables organisations to benefit from the human and social capital of their
stakeholders and underline a listening, caring and individually-concerned culture.
Selected examples of co-creation techniques include: offline – brainstorming sessions, round tables,
conferences and focus groups to prioritise audience suggestions; online – participation via social
media forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Yammer etc plus organisational internet and intranet sites.
Organisations have also built specially adapted co-creation platforms, and specialist technology now
exists to help with analysing the huge volumes of data that can be generated.
2.3. Does sustainability (and responsibility) count?
The need for organisations to fully address their environmental sustainability and wider social
responsibility is pressing. Once again, this has been clearly underlined during summer 2012 through
a number of serious malpractices, some of global significance, in government, the financial services,
pharmaceutical and media sectors, and even with regard to public and national security.
Accordingly, the careful management of an organisation’s sustainability (and responsibility) is
increasingly viewed as essential – e.g. Ford Motor Company believes these underpin its own viability
as a vehicle manufacturer and its very survival. It is also a vital factor in maintaining and improving
many corporate cultures while ensuring long-term, organisational success – all areas of increasing
concern to governments, communities and consumers seeking improved organisational
trustworthiness and conduct.
Two-thirds of respondents to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) survey believed
sustainability was key to competitive success, up from 55% in its 2010 survey and representing an
annual increase of 10% (MIT, 2012). This viewpoint was shared by the respondents to our
Senior Vice President for Sustainability at a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) organisation
Was “convinced sustainability can drive our growth”, stating that their sustainability plan
involves more than just goodwill, ethical and abstract motivations. This is demonstrated by the
importance they place on preserving the security of raw materials, which represents a
fundamental financial cost, and also a corporate risk if they are unable to guarantee sourcing of
these materials in the long term.
Head of Environment at a British media group
Described the primary concerns of the organisation as reputation and cost-efficiency.
Sustainability enables them to take practical steps which both improve the business and
promote its reputation as an ethical company to consumers. Fundamentally, it is driven by
“being in business for the long term”.
2.4. Assuring sustainability and responsibility
There has been steady progress in the sustainability and responsibility governance area: for example,
the number of companies delivering annual CSR reports has now increased to 95% of Global Fortune
250 companies (KPMG, 2011). Furthermore, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) have
been endorsed by 900 businesses, representing $30 trillion in assets. However, the need for
organisations – public and private sector and hybrid – to fully integrate sustainability principles into
their operational strategies is increasingly expected by all stakeholders. In addition, the failure to
fully embrace sustainability and responsibility can lead to significant costs and enduring reputational
damage. For example, Unilever has calculated that climate change is now reducing its potential
profits by €200 million each year (BusinessGreen, 2012), plus these costs will potentially increase in
the future, unless mitigated through careful management and innovation.
Nonetheless, there is still far more that organisations can and need to do here, as Ban Ki-moon
highlighted in his address at the ‘KPMG Summit: Business Perspective for Sustainable Growth’ earlier
this year: “We need corporate sustainability to be in the DNA of business culture and operations…
Corporate sustainability, as currently practiced, has yet to rise fully to the challenge. The principles of
sustainability have not penetrated business strategy, nor have we seen the depth of action that is
needed.” (UN News Centre, 2012). Clearly, the time has come to build on all the current effort and
cost of reporting, goverance and compliance procedures, and to integrate forward-thinking,
sustainable and responsible action into every organisational activity. This is exactly where co-
creation works best, as highlighted above.
2.5. Applying co-creation to business issues
“There is so much duplication of effort and wasted resource when it comes to sustainability… We
need to make it easier for individuals, companies, academia and researchers to collaborate and share
best practice in order to create and adopt technologies that have the potential to solve global
sustainability challenges.” John Wilbanks, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos (The
Telegraph, India, 2010).
Let’s start with some examples of how co-creation has already been used by various organisations
for a wide variety of stakeholder engagement purposes:
Senior Sustainability Manager at a private healthcare organisation
Said that sustainability was incredibly important to the organisational ethos (ranked 9/10 out of
all reasons provided – see appendix A) as it steers the organisation’s future and development.
Added that it was driven by a “social purpose” – to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of its
customers, which extends into environmental factors having a direct impact.
Environmental Programmes Manager at a global automobile and engine manufacturer
Gave the importance of sustainability a 10/10 ranking (as above), reflecting the relevance of
changing economic and business circumstances impacting on the sector. The organisation is now
focused on providing mobility solutions in a long-term and sustainable manner.
Assuming sound innovation, active engagement of concerned individuals and dynamic
communication are key to developing successful sustainability interventions, co-creation is likely to
offer an effective and productive route. Co-creation helps engage new partners and experts;
embraces emerging knowledge; and educates all stakeholders while creating awareness around core
organisational requirements. As such, if it works with new product and service development, it must
surely work here and help develop good practice, brand reputation and corporate values in the
(arguably more) important area of organisational sustainability and responsibility.
Our research revealed that co-creation is being used by some organisations to help improve their
sustainability. However, currently, the number of organisations using it long term on a large scale is
limited although, as more sustainability networks begin to use this approach internationally (such as
The Guardian and 2degrees), it is bound to increase. In fact, as Unilever has already shown (see case
study below), well designed and effective co-creation can help organisations identify and prove
quality sustainability solutions more rapidly. In our experience, one trailblazer in the FMCG area,
especially of Unilever’s standing and size, is likely to create wider activity which will then spread to
E-ON – Power to the People developed conversations with consumers around new products and
service propositions they would like to see. An online forum invited customers to post ideas,
develop and vote for them via an online community. Participants were awarded points for their
Tesco – Seeking to improve the customer experience of its online shopping service, 150
technology developers were asked to contribute ideas to enhance its website. The developers
would benefit financially from any successful applications they developed and Tesco adopted.
KLM – Its Tile and Inspire campaign invited the public to submit their own Delft Blue tile, based
on a photo they had taken, which could then be put on the side of one of its aircraft. This event
resulted in 120,000 tiles being made and 600,000 campaign site visits, engaging a wide audience
including regular KLM fliers, and those who may not have previously been aware of the brand.
Unilever: co-creation for sustained value
Unilever launched its ten-year ‘Sustainable Living Plan’ in November 2010. It incorporated
sustainable values throughout its portfolio and addressed sustainability issues from raw materials
to consumer behaviour in order to halve the environmental footprint of its products. From the
outset, partnerships and co-creation were deemed vital, as CEO Paul Polman claimed: “Delivering
these commitments won’t be easy. To achieve them, we will have to work in partnership with
governments, NGOs, suppliers and others to address the big challenges which confront us all.”
In order to achieve its ambitious targets, Unilever set up the ‘Sustainable Living Lab’ – an
interactive and open, 24/7 web forum. Unilever’s stakeholders and sustainability experts were
invited to contribute ideas on improving sustainability and, in addition, 100 Unilever employees
were involved. 2,262 experts from a variety of backgrounds registered for the event from 77
different countries, contributing nearly 4,000 different posts, as seen in the pie charts overleaf.
Participants contributed many new ideas and concepts including new ways of communicating a
product’s environmental impact; the need for understanding of migrant worker abuses; setting
internal water prices, amongst many other issues. In addition to assisting Unilever internally, these
findings helped form its contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals discussed at Rio+20.
2.6. Employees and co-creation
Given the above evidence as to why sustainability is so crucial to the future success of organisations,
it remains surprising that such a limited number of employees are asked to contribute to their
organsation’s policy and idea generation in this area, especially as their livelihood and career may
depend on such engagement. A recent BusinessGreen report revealed that about 60% of employees
in general are either ‘not aware’ or ‘aware but not involved’ in mitigating their organisation’s carbon
footprint, which is just one simple sustainability measure (BusinessGreen, 2012a). This verifies that
considerable scope exists to involve employees in vital energy- and cost-reduction measures.
Co-creation would help overcome this issue by giving equal weight to engaging employees of all
roles, levels and types in the sustainability dialogue, as well as engaging further stakeholders. Some
organisations have also included employees’ families or retired employees in such dialogue.
Darrel Webber, Secretary General,
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
commented: "I found the session to be a
novel approach to engaging with different
stakeholders. It has helped surface tough
questions that are valuable to take the
next leap towards sustainability." (The
Although Unilever conducts a variety of co-
creation projects in many different ways,
few organisations have focused on
sustainability to this degree. Unilever is,
therefore, to be commended and should
be encouraged to continue this dialogue in
order to capture even more ideas and
suggestions of high value to millions of its
consumers and thousands of its business
Applied internally, co-creation is a powerful employee engagement approach, capturing the
knowledge, ideas and observations of the internal audience, i.e. generating great ideas from within,
through people who really know the operation and are motivated to help either directly or indirectly.
In our experience, employees often tend to be asked only annually and generically (the classic
employee survey) or when there is an issue or threat, plus little action seems to be taken based on
this feedback. So, co-creation with its wider accessibility and more solution- and action-focused
nature may be useful in overcoming the growing cynicism of employees towards traditional
employee dialogue. This factor is likely to be exacerbated due to severe cut-backs in employee
investment over the last five recessionary years, and the further demise of traditional employee
forums. The timing, as efforts to break out of the recessionary slump intensify, may also be ideal.
A 2002 GlobeScan survey revealed that eight in ten people who worked for a large organisation
believed that the more socially responsible their employer becomes, the more motivated and loyal
they become as employees (GlobeScan, 2002). These findings have been verified more recently by
the USA Environmental Protection Agency, especially among younger employees of lower tenure. In
addition, 41% of customers prefer sustainable products and services (MIT, 2012).
Our own research showed that 67% of respondents who had used co-creation claimed that it had
substantially increased the number of people involved in a project. In addition, co-creation raises
awareness and can be used as an educational tool, a facility that every respondent stated they
required within the sustainability field, especially for employees. In conclusion, we firmly believe
that internal co-creation will make employees feel more valued, as well as providing a more durable,
practical, focused and cost-effective way of facilitating organisational evolution.
2.7. Co-creation experience
The participant feedback from our summer 2012 research exercise proved that co-creation has been
used for various tasks and sometimes directly in enhancing organisational sustainability. The
benefits witnessed included, internally: more engaged employees through fresh dialogue; and,
externally: improved investor relations and enhanced partnerships with non-governmental
organisations. Many participants highlighted the role of co-creation in facilitating dialogue,
especially across international frontiers.
Here’s a selection of some reported experiences:
The value of co-creation
Senior Sustainability Manager at a private, global healthcare organisation
Referred to co-creation as ‘fantastic’. The respondent viewed it as particularly useful due to the
complexity of the sector, which means addressing many issues at the same time with the aid of
external parties to create the most suitable solutions. Co-creation enables it to “tap into the
wisdom of the crowd”, and allows it to benefit from numerous externally derived innovations.
During a global innovation contest on carbon reduction, it received many positive contributions,
while the process facilitated wider entry into this ideation process, often producing ‘outside the
box’ solutions. This also had a positive effect on employees, giving them ‘permission to
innovate’ while ‘removing internal stifling’. The respondent referred to co-creation as ‘not just a
process, but a cultural shift’ which warrants time to build and optimise.
Senior Vice President for Sustainability at an FMCG company
Reported that co-creation has improved investor:organisation relations by involving
stakeholders more widely in important decisions, helping to garner further investment.
2.8. The potential downsides and mitigation
A number of respondents mentioned that co-creation often requires significant time investment to
create the desired cultural shift. While rapid innovation in sustainability (and responsibility) may be
desirable in order to adapt to pressing global needs, few alternative communication approaches may
be able to deliver results as accurately and quickly as co-creation. In our experience too, embedding
culture change is never a quick or simple process, but it can be accelerated by the managed
involvement of key stakeholders, and most notably employees. Hopefully, further long-term
international experience of co-creation and the open sharing of case studies will facilitate improved
approaches and learning.
Co-creation can also create an open forum for people to complain about or raise issues with an
organisation – for example, a recent survey showed that 65% of UK citizens believe social media are
a better way to communicate with companies than call centres (BBC News, 2012). In effect, co-
creation – especially when operated through social media – provides a simple way of surfacing
issues, some of which may be totally apparent, some not so. But, given the growing inability of
organisations to manage and even influence social media and public/media comment, and the speed
at which this now spreads, it may be preferable for a caring modern organisation to tease this
information out itself through co-creation, rather than let it fester or be broadcast without their
control. We therefore recommend that, before a co-creation strategy is even considered, an
organisation should investigate how best to react to any potential issues, negative or positive,
through detailed scenario planning. All information is important and some provides useful learning
opportunities as well as innovative ideas.
In addition to less-welcome comment, co-creation in the public arena can encourage participation by
communities that may not always be helpful. Intervention by competitors and lobby groups may
artificially skew results, or provide misleading data. Careful design of co-creation strategies should
The value of co-creation (continued)
Head of Environment at a British media group
Described how the organisation uses co-creation to create environmentally-friendly initiatives,
based on customer views. An example outcome is the partnership the organisation has with the
WWF to save an area of rainforest.
Private Sector Advisor to an international confederation of charities
Stated that co-creation helped refresh communication within its organisation. Co-creation
facilitated both formal and informal consultation with employees, and provided dependable
communication channels for fast and accurate idea generation.
Sustainability Communications Manager at a global bank
Used co-creation throughout a five-year climate partnership with a $100 million budget, which
resulted in collaboration between scientists and employees to create the world’s largest forest
research project. It led to an extensive database of research: 74 businesses and cities created
partnerships to drive low-carbon growth, and policy changes have been brought about in China,
India, Brazil and the UK. Furthermore, over 50 million people were involved through its parallel
publicity campaigns, 32 million more people now have access to cleaner water than before the
project, and three million hectares of forest have been protected. It was viewed as a highly
successful means of engaging a wide body of employees: 63,250 volunteered throughout the
partnership, and 2,267 employees are now Climate Champions, who have been trained to
minimise their impact on the environment and educate others.
- Finally, a global manufacturing company said it had used co-creation with customers to identify
improvements to its products and services, and an internal think-tank had used it to draft
minimise the potential for negative interference, and organisations might be best advised to start
from a more manageable, internal level. In addition, detailed analysis of feedback and sense-
checking should reveal most partisan views, and organisations can now use simple and inexpensive
data-mining technology to either review all social media reports about their activities and actions or
benchmark co-creation results.
One further potential criticism, which is balanced by the fact that it’s good to talk to the people who
know and care most about your organisation and its activities, is that co-creation may be ‘preaching
to the converted’, or only attracting those already interested in a particular topic. In certain
instances, however, the latter may be desirable if the organisation is keen to pinpoint an issue or
particular audience due its depth of knowledge, and to ensure high-quality input quickly. A good
example of the latter is provided by Unilever’s Sustainability Lab, which certainly benefited from
appealing for experts in sustainability to participate, and probably required less editorial intervention
as a result.
However, as the use and popularity of social media and its potential to influence organisational
behaviour and action increase, audience participation will become far more representative than any
equivalent form of market or stakeholder research. Data shows that 80% of all online users regularly
interact with social networking sites (McKinsey Global Institute, 2012) although the online presence
in emerging economies and developing countries tends to be less consistent. Therefore, it may be a
while before these techniques can be used effectively in developing countries. However, the
accelerating use of smartphones may help to alleviate this problem as they are more accessible to
people in developing countries than PCs; it is predicted that, by 2015, 50% of consumers will have
smartphones globally (McKinsey Global Institute, 2012).
Finally, we would observe that the more organisations take up co-creation and for longer, the harder
it will be to manage the downstream process as it is likely to become increasingly complex and multi-
channel. We would comment that, only by being early adopters – taking careful steps to explore co-
creation’s potential and undertaking detailed monitoring – will organisations build the capability and
experience to optimise this approach to dialogue with stakeholders. Professional communication
and marketing trade associations and academia should also be encouraged to take an active interest
in co-creation to ensure it remains optimised.
3. Conclusions and recommendations
Organisational sustainability and responsibility are complex subjects which require careful
management and communication. However, they both exhibit a strong fascination for a wide range
of stakeholders, especially customers/service users and employees. There is now strong evidence
that these key audiences want to participate in shaping and optimising the organisations they care
about, possibly work for too, and especially in the important areas of sustainability and
responsibility. This research endorses all these factors and shows co-creation to be a highly effective
and appropriate approach to engineering a community engagement model for tomorrow’s
Co-creation harvests high-quality, relevant ideas, as their source is well aligned with the subject
need. Co-creation is differentiated from many other stand-alone research and communication
approaches through the sheer number and variety of stakeholders who may be included in this
dialogue about processes, products/services, behaviour and standards; it also illustrates the
spectrum of potential subject matter. Usually customers, and at times employees, have the
strongest input in co-creation. However, sustainability, due to its multi-faceted nature, needs many
more partners to be involved.
There are potential barriers and objections to effective co-creation, but many negative aspects can
be made positive through careful planning and management, as shown in section 2.8. Cost is not
likely to be an obstacle but more detailed cost:benefit and return-on-investment data is required.
And, if many organisations and experts believe sustainable action might plateau due to the lack of
individual engagement, this argues for pursuing co-creation sooner rather than later…
4. Suggested next steps
We trust this report will encourage you to start co-creating for sustainability (and responsibility)
across your organisation, or at least investigate its use further. We believe co-creation will help
many diverse organisations create, share and test new concepts and innovative solutions to further
their sustainability quickly and with measured effort. Here are our suggestions on how you can make
co-creation work effectively for sustainability:
A. Join and participate in the emerging co-creation-for-sustainability communities and learn from
other early adopters. Share your thoughts and concerns to practice co-creation now!
B. Take simple steps – start with straightforward subject matter and try your best to delineate
your audience. Use co-creation as an education and awareness-making tool, as well as a way
to capture new ideas for your organisation: this way everyone benefits from participation.
Consider synthesising the different subject areas into an evolving, online resource for
C. Work out your overall objectives, desired outcomes, budget and timeframe carefully and set
up the right project team. Think through your media utilisation strategy – what do you have in
your hand, what might you access, develop? Face-to-face communication is always more
effective internally; if you desire greater contact with your customers or suppliers, online
communication might be more effective.
D. Invest in sufficient resources for the scale of your ambitions: co-creators might not be so ready
to get engaged in the future if their ideas have been ignored for no stated reason. It may be
that you pledge to take only three of the best ideas forward. If so, communicate to your
participants who won, what their idea was and why it was more suitable than others.
E. Plan the scenarios that may emerge and how you might handle the dialogue – positive and
negative. You can build on criticism and use it too to inform your strategy.
F. Engage the right people. Think outside the box about who has a vested interest in helping you
develop your sustainability strategy and activities. This might include competitors or non-
governmental organisations that you may have previously considered a high-risk partner –
make sure senior decision-makers know what you are planning first and consult the right
colleagues internally upfront. You may also need to work with a partner organisation (or
competitor on an industry-wide issue or solution?) to generate greater awareness of the
project and depth. Sustainability is a challenge which all organisations (and individuals) face,
so sharing your experiences with a concerned community might enhance all the outcomes.
G. Understand what motivates your people to get involved in co-creation exercises. Is it
developing an enhanced organisation, better-aligned culture/behaviours, a stronger
community interface, or what? Build on this.
H. Encourage participants to use their own knowledge of energy, water, raw material and other
resource use/management, safety, health and environmental factors and general perceptions
of their work-, home- or business-space. Work out how you can use this information to your
mutual advantage and maintain the dialogue through pilots and project renewal – perhaps
mutually agreed targets? The individual has the detailed knowledge which you wish to surface
– great ideas come from within and can often be spectacularly obvious. Make it clear that you
will value and action all contributions, even if one action is only to show why a certain solution
is a non-starter.
I wish to thank everyone who contributed to this research for donating their time and sharing their
expertise and experiences. Every effort has been made to guarantee the personal and corporate
anonymity of participants and non-participants. Thanks to Good Measures for the opportunity to
conduct this research, and a huge thank-you to Katherine, Tom & Tim and for all your help and
support with this fascinating – and sometimes challenging – project.
Catriona Brady, St Andrews, Scotland – 10 October 2012
Introducing Good Measures
Good Measures is a sustainability and corporate social responsibility consultancy specialising in the
use of new tools, methods and technologies to assist our clients with the development of new
solutions and innovations to engage their people. We primarily focus on employee engagement, the
research and communication of sustainability & responsibility and measurement technology. This is
why co-creation particularly interests us.
Our overall aim is to develop world-class employee-led CSR and sustainability strategies.
We work with our clients to improve their overall sustainability and responsibility performance and
maximise the potential that exists for cost reduction and enhanced employee engagement. Working
alongside our clients’ in-house teams, we seek to ensure organisation-wide buy-in to achieve five
critical benefits: smarter processes, reduced environmental impact, reduced costs, more engaged
people and an enhanced brand. Equally important, to ensure a successful outcome, we help you to
develop programmes which fit your organisational culture and ambitions.
Our work often involves the development of intelligent communication techniques, including co-
creation, to engage internal audiences and wider stakeholders. Recognising that all organisations
comprise people who actively support sustainability and responsibility, as well as many who are less
committed, we have developed communication methods to address the whole spectrum of
employees with a view to creating a more engaged workforce. We use practical solutions, often
based on personal action plans (PAPs) which may use technology in their delivery, or be physical
activities taking place in the workplace. Using co-creation techniques, we listen and talk to your
stakeholders and maximise the use of their knowledge and ideas to enhance your sustainability
programme. We also engage wider stakeholders using these techniques or through the use of
crowd-sourcing. Our aim is to make everyone around your organisation see sustainability and
responsibility as part of their day-to-day commitment and role, not just that of the sustainability
If you’d like more information, to contribute feedback or participate further in our work on co-
creation for sustainability, please contact Tim Roberts, Katherine Rusack or Kevin Spring:
London office: +44 (0) 20 7836 5732
US office: +1 612 396 3873
41 Shelton Street
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Appendix A – survey methodology
An integrated methodology was used for this study. Data was gathered by setting up an online
questionnaire, interviewing key figures from a range of industries by telephone, and analysis of
tertiary sources. The online questionnaire was set up on a public domain and circulated to strategic
contacts with a request to be passed on. This snowball sampling strategy was aided by publishing
several online articles about the research project on public sustainability forums. These respondents
represented 79% of the total. Phone interviews, representing 21% of respondents, were carried out
with strategically selected and prominent figures in a variety of industries, and usually experts in
The response rate for the questionnaire was just under 10%, with the response rate for phone
interviews less than 5%. A total of 22 organisations, representing over 1,040,000 employees globally,
gave detailed responses to either the online questionnaire or telephone interview. The period of
research gathering was five weeks in June - July 2012. The low response rate may, in part, be
attributed to the short research phase conducted during a busy summer period which coincided with
a number of major events in the UK – in particular, the Golden Jubilee and the London 2012
Olympics. Although the total number of organisations surveyed is lower than originally hoped, the
depth and detail of questioning, quality of information provided and wide variety of industries
researched strengthens the value of the results. There was also considerable consistency in the
information and views harvested.
The organisations participating in this research were drawn from a wide variety of sectors and
industries including legal, industrial, NGOs/non-profit research, local government, media, financial,
retail, high-technology, consumer products and medical care.