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Sustainable innovations in enterprises
Sustainable innovations in enterprises

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3 Measuring the impact of sustainable innovation

In this section, you will examine methods for evaluating and measuring different types of sustainability management tools.

Social impact tells the story of the change you can bring to society and people’s lives. Enterprises can and should measure their social impact. One reason for this is because an enterprise’s funder may want to know that their investment will make a real difference. However, this is not the only reason why it is good to measure social impact, and the real benefits derived from the process happen within the organisation.

If you have a way to tell the whole story of the enterprise’s impact – not just sales and profit – then you have a powerful tool that will improve credibility and encourage people to believe what the enterprise says. It will inspire staff and volunteers, and the enterprise will be encouraged to continuously improve services, communicate to stakeholders, form the basis of powerful publicity materials and funding applications, and help to make an even greater difference.

Every organisation – no matter how small or new – can measure its social impact. That being said, it is often better for small organisations to start by measuring just one indicator, perhaps related to just one activity. Once used to this, more indicators can then be added.