Aviva and ClimateCare have pioneered a way to quantify how carbon-offsetting programmes can improve people’s lives

Measuring financial data and environmental impacts has become part and parcel of the corporate social responsibility and reporting cycle, and businesses of all stripes have become well-versed in measuring and benchmarking all manner of sustainability metrics, from carbon intensity and water use to human rights issues and local economic development.

However, while it is now relatively straightforward for organisations to record social outputs, understanding what this really means – social impact – is more complex, as is the question of how companies can accurately and reliably quantify, measure, and report on these social impacts. And with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now in place, companies will increasingly be required to think more holistically about the value they create, not just the impact that their activities have.

Increasingly companies are attempting, with varying levels of success, to find a solution to social impact measurement that is both meaningful and pragmatic.

Meaningful measurement

In an effort to make measurement meaningful, the European Commission has proposed an approach that describes the differences between outputs (how a given activity reaches the intended beneficiaries), outcomes (the change arising in the lives of beneficiaries and others), and impacts (the extent to which that change arises from the intervention). The...

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climate  Environment  carbon  sustainable development  emissions  social impact 

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