Comparative Testing for Corporate Impact Assessment Tools: Results from Case Studies in the Global Value Project

Andrea Farsang, Lucia A. Reisch

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    Environmental and social pressures have increased substantially over the few last decades, and have been accompanied by growing political pressure (e.g., mandatory economic, environmental, social, and governance reporting) and respective societal demands (e.g., critical media reports). Companies are increasingly challenged to be ready to respond to these demands.
    This paper critically examines the following question: To what extent do the measurement tools currently available, in practice and in literature, effectively measure companies’ impact on sustainable development goals (SDGs)? The focus issues of our study are: poverty, water and sanitation, education, food and agriculture, climate change, and human rights in three industries, namely: footwear, coffee, and paper and pulp. The paper develops a protocol for the selection and quantification of indicators that can be used in selecting the appropriate tools for measuring impacts in the selected sectors on SDGs.

    Background: In the Global Value Project, a long list of indicators was compiled covering the main thematic areas and challenges of sustainability. In a second step, this long list was reduced using predefined criteria as well as other criteria, such as the feasibility and scalability of different tools. As a result, a protocol was developed to help compare the different tools that measure corporate impact and to interpret the results in relation to the SDGs. The protocol was pre-tested with a limited number of tools in two case studies that compared the impacts of two multinational companies operating in developing countries. Data collection was based on desk research, and expert opinion.

    The paper concludes with reflections on the applicability and usefulness of the investigated tools that measure corporate impact. The study aims to help companies apply the most appropriate tool for measuring their impact and to enable these companies to easily compare the available tools. The study also endeavors to contribute to a better understanding of the practical challenges users of such tools face.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2015
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventThe 5th World Sustainability Forum - University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
    Duration: 7 Sept 20159 Sept 2015
    Conference number: 5


    ConferenceThe 5th World Sustainability Forum
    LocationUniversity of Basel
    Internet address

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