In recent years it has become more and more apparent that there is a need for businesses to make themselves sustainable and ensure they are making positive contributions to society. With the rise of sustainability certifications and awareness around the potential social negatives in many industries, understanding your sustainable impact is becoming a requirement for businesses and organisations. Alongside this, knowing your organisation’s impact is simply good business – if you know what’s working and what’s not, you know where to put your energy.
Although many Impact Management Standards have emerged in recent years – Social Return on Investment (SROI), Theory of Change, Results-Based Accountability, for example – these frameworks guide you on how to lead your work sustainably, not how to structure your organisation sustainably. They may be making positive impacts outside of your organisation, but what does it matter if these positives are not modelled within?
This is where the Sustainable Develop Goals (SDG) Impact Standards come in.
Based around the United Nations’ key Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG Impact Standards provide guidelines for how businesses and organisations can manage the impacts within their organisation. It is a universal framework – for organisations of any size, location, or sector – which provides a blueprint for change.
The 12 Steps of Embedding Impact Management
So how do you embed change in your organisation? You start with the 12 steps:
Similar to general Impact Management standards, the first 8 steps of embedding impact management requires you to understand and reflect on your current impact and organisation structure, and then use this data as a basis to build and integrate your new organisational framework. The issue is that most organisations do this already, and the frameworks are forgotten, ignored, or last a year before they become obsolete.
Step 9: Embed is where this changes. By focusing on going back to your frameworks over and over again, you continuously improve and update these frameworks based on real-time data. By establishing a precedent for continuous improvement based on actual outcomes, you change from alignment to action. By engaging with Step 10: Disclose, you are held accountable by the public and they are able to weigh in on your decision-making process. Ultimately, in Step 11: Integrate and Step 12: Ensure, this process will become integrated in your organisation’s culture, ensuring that you are leading by example.
“Perfection kills what comes forward”
– Dr. Sneha Lakhotia, SDG Impact Standards Trainer
In this day and age, ensuring you are not only providing good impacts, but also modelling good impacts is key to good business. The SDG Impact Standards provide a guide to embedding an organisational culture based on good data, transparency, and moving from reporting to decision-making. Importantly, however, this process is not perfect and not set in stone. You will not necessarily move through the 12 steps linearly, and some of the guidelines will not be applicable to you. Ultimately, like in the SDG Impact Standards themselves, real change comes from trying – and if you fail, you try again.
Read the Guides for Embedding the SDG Impact Standards here:
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