Measuring and Reporting Sustainable Impact
In September 2021 I decided that in order to keep track, communicate and hold myself accountable to my impact, I should establish a set of publicly communicable sustainability goals.
Since my website uses the UN SDGs as a framework to discuss sustainability and positive impact, using them to report on my impacts was an obvious choice. I then chose to work with a Scandinavian startup, SDG Monitor, whose mission is rather neatly to “help companies and organizations to measure and communicate their sustainability performance and to show its impact.”
The goals I set were mostly arbitrary but felt like a stretch in the right direction. I set my deadlines to March 2022, approximately “two quarters” away which I felt was achievable but also quite a challenge.
I say most, because one of them was directly related to the carbon emitted by my website. More details of these can be found in the related article below.
Measuring and Communicating Sustainability.
Integrating Impact as Business as Usual
I then set about integrating automated micro-impacts as a result of my business processes. I linked up my calendaring system with giving fresh water to families in Vietnam, educational impacts triggered by participants at an education for good conference I presented at as well as many other trigger points, including invoicing, newsletters, social media and website goals.
A by-product of this is that I’ve now become quite expert in automating positive impacts across businesses and have been asked by other companies to help them do the same. Find out more about that, here.
Missing the Mark in March
Even with all of this, at the end of the February, with my deadline looming in just about a month, March was looking like it would be critical for my goal achievement. Although my progress was all heading in the right direction, it looked unlikely I would achieve my goals by the end of March.
The goal that was closest to being achieved was sponsoring tree growing to offset my website carbon footprint. This was the closest, but still only at 83% of the goal.
Luckily, March was quite busy in all the right directions and thanks to several business successes, numerous meetings and speaking engagements, my automated impacts helped narrow the gap.
But it still wasn’t enough … and this is where the accountability of these public dashboards came into their own. I simply couldn’t leave it to chance or risk missing the targets, so over the last couple of days I have called upon my partners to help me close the gaps in my progress and achieve my current set of goals.
Special Offers from My Partners:
Discover special offers and discounts from SDG Monitor and other partners that help me achieve my goals.
Goals Accomplished. 🎉
Of the five goals I set across SDGs 4, 6, 7 and 13, four of them have now been achieved, with one progressing throughout the year.
The one that hasn’t yet been met relates to my office energy consumption. To be fair to myself, this is a rolling average over the year, so perhaps the deadline should have been a year, not six months.
The images below show my goal progress and achievement.
While I chose to report on just four goals, my automated impacts have been contributing much more widely than that.
The challenge has been in correlating my activities and the impacts in a way that I can account for in the SDG Monitor dashboards. I’m expecting this will become easier this year as many of the partners I rely on will provide API (programming interfaces) that I can use to properly account for the impacts.
During the first days of April, I will set myself new goals for the remainder of 2022 and publish those through SDG Monitor – stay tuned!