At BST impact sàrl we assist in the development of indicators to measure the societal and environmental impact of a client’s business, in its supply chain, and in the societies in which it operates. In the case of investors and funds, we assist with measuring the impact of investee companies, both when deciding who to invest in as well as when assessing the subsequent investments’ impact. Importantly, we do not create standardized surveys or offer a “label” – a number of matrixes and fixed questionnaires already exist and are extremely valuable tools. We help you develop indicators that correspond to your strategy, that are specifically useful to your reporting needs, thereby preparing your business for an optimal use of the existing tools to e.g. obtain certification or be in conformity with regulation.
In order to ensure effective and accurate reporting, we first need to define the object of our assessment: what are we measuring, and how? In many cases, particularly when we talk about Social factors, measuring sustainability can be extremely difficult. For the S, the indicators are often too diverse and fragmented because the way in which the S is conceived by different data providers and information intermediaries lacks a common principled basis. A holistic approach to measuring impact, capable of recognizing the interconnection between the E and S effects and of creating short, medium, and long-term impact goals for companies and investors is needed to fully capture – and communicate on – a company’s ESG performance.
That is why we anchor all the indicators we propose in the same international standards we would use as a basis for your strategies and policies, thus ensuring internal coherence as well as a common basis for comparison. A norms-based approach to creating indicators and impact measurement will automatically be harmonized since the international standards will be the same for everyone measuring and reporting – but it allows to focus on the issues that are material for your business. It also allows you to openly face issues of delays in implementation when these are due to difficulties in the contexts where you operate. In these cases, pulling out can have an enormous negative impact on the environment as well as on the affected population, especially if actors who are not committed to sustainability subsequently take over the space you occupied. Putting in place processes that address these challenges in a meaningful way will avoid such harm, and let you report on the concrete actions taken from a norms-based perspective.
Imagine The Following Scenario
You are operating in an area (or are investing in a company that operates in an area) where access to healthcare is scarce, of poor quality or accessible through corruption. As a company you may think this is not something you can do anything about (while as an investor you may see that your ratings on social issues are not strong).
However, if you can establish a system ensuring that a doctor provides basic healthcare to your employees (or your investee’s employees), with a relatively modest step you will have achieved a concrete improvement of the affected communities’ quality of life, and you will be able to report on a very specific action taken to further the SDG Goal 3, instead of having to generally refer to your “investments in the S”.