As purpose, impact, and sustainability become more prevalent in mainstream business conversations the importance and complexity of defining them does as well. Currently, the business community is struggling to define and standardize a reporting method to measure metrics relevant to logistics, supply chain, etc. through this sustainability lens. Many organizations such as B Impact Assessment, GRI, ROSI, World Benchmarking Alliance are doing the research and organization to bring clarity to these constantly evolving concepts.
Based on this research, 17 Ways has developed an equation to measure the depth of impact:
Impact = # of people impacted x depth of reach
Using this equation, we’ve identified 3 levels of impact: Community, Employee/Supplier, and Customer.
“Community” is the first tier of this impact hierarchy. Examples of this include employee volunteering, individual monetary contributions, local engagement, etc. These actions reach a relatively small number of people in a local geography or specific online community. This is not to say these acts are without value, but rather that the impact is confined to localized communities.
Employer & Supplier Impact
“Employee and Supplier” is the second tier of impact. A larger group of people is affected in a more meaningful way. Examples of employee impact include changes in internal company standards such as living wages, working conditions, skill development, diversity and inclusion, etc; some companies extend these standards as requirements to suppliers . These actions have a direct and sustained impact on the people that are part of a company’s operations.
“Customer” has the potential for the most impact. Examples include improved products and services, efficient processes, sustainable and renewable resources, etc. By the end of the product’s lifecycle customers have been touched in a variety of ways.