Measuring socio-economic impact – WBCSD guide for business


Published on

Companies are increasingly interested in measuring socio-economic impact as part of maintaining their license to operate, improving the business enabling environment, strengthening their value chains, and fueling product and service innovation.

In February 2013, the WBCSD launched a guide aimed to support companies’ efforts in tackling the challenge of measuring their socio-economic impacts.

The guide has been developed to help business perform 3 essential tasks: (i) firstly, to define and articulate the business case for socio-economic impact measurement within their organization; (ii) secondly, to understand the essentials of impact measurement theory and communicate with internal and external stakeholders on the subject, including on the terminology; (iii) finally, to navigate the landscape of measurement tools, and identify those that best meet companies’ needs. The guide profiles 10 existing tools tailored to business needs, dissected on the basis of functionality, fit for purpose, cost and complexity of implementation, and examples of their application in practice.

The guide is available for download at - via this link you can also access a 3-minute animated video introducing the topic.

Published in: Business

Measuring socio-economic impact – WBCSD guide for business

  1. 1. Measuringsocio-economicimpactA guide for business Summary presentation
  2. 2. ContextCompanies are increasingly interested in measuring socio-economic impactas part of:- Maintaining their license to operate- Improving the business enabling environment- Strengthening their value chains- Fueling product and service innovation But while more and more tools are being developed to help companies measure socio-economic impact, it can be difficult to compare and choose among them - Diversity in tools - Based on different assumptions - Offering different functionality - Focusing on different types of impact - Suiting different purposes
  3. 3. About the guideThe WBCSD’s new publication “Measuring socio-economic impact: A guidefor business” is intended to help companies navigate the complex landscapeof socio-economic impact measurement.The guide includes 4 sections: The The The The business road essentials tools case aheadOutlines business Introduces the Profiles a selection Suggests areas ofmotivations for terminology and of 10 publicly focus to acceleratemeasuring socio- basic theory used available tools business efforts toeconomic impact in this space for a tailored for measure and manage business audience business needs socio-economic impact
  4. 4. The business caseWhy do companies measure their socio-economic impact?
  5. 5. The essentialsLesson 1A fundamental first step is to understand howbusiness activities translate into socio-economicimpactsLesson 2Measurement can happen anywhere along theresults chain ImpactLesson 3In the development community, the gold standard isto reach that last link in the results chain; that lastlink is what is known as “Impact” OutcomeLesson 4Measuring “Impact”, in the technical sense of the Outputword, is challenging to do ActivityLesson 5Prioritization and the judicious use of proxies can Inputbe key
  6. 6. Tool selection and analysisThe guide profiles 10 tools, selected on the basis of the following criteria: 1. We focus exclusively on 2. We focus on tools that have socio-economic impact. been developed for business Environmental sustainability plays and that, in the WBCSDs a critical role in socio-economic experience, companies are impact, however tools are increasingly interested in. relatively well established and can be used together with the ones profiled here whenever environmental and social goals are linked.These tools are analyzed on the basis of functionality, fit for purpose, cost andcomplexity of implementation, and practical examples of their application inpractice.
  7. 7. The 10 tools profiled
  8. 8. Tools analysis overview
  9. 9. The road aheadThe landscape of tools is still evolving. Thus, the guide is intended to be aliving document, updated and improved as existing tools are updated and newones emerge.At the WBCSD, we see two major opportunities to advance the practice ofsocio-economic impact measurement moving forward: • Integrating socio-economic impact measurement into business performance management and reporting • Using socio-economic impact measurement to drive more effective collaboration between business, government, and civil societyIf progress can be made, measuring socio-economic impact holds greatpromise as enabler of our collective efforts to meet people’s needs andaccelerate the transition toward the WBCSD’s vision of a sustainable world inwhich the 9 billion people expected to share the earth by the year 2050 can livewell, and within the limits of our one planet.
  10. 10. Access the guide and supporting materials