The concept of “sustainability” is here to stay: the 2019 Davos agenda was dominated by it; governments and populations are awakening to the multitude of crises created by overpopulation, overconsumption, and the unequal distribution of wealth; and brands are becoming less shy about engaging with social and political issues.
Where businesses are on the spectrum of sustainability activities, with “do no harm” at one end, and “social value creation” at the other, depends on the pressures they face: supply chains threatened by resource depletion, geopolitics, and regulation; stakeholders demanding that business practices reflect their social values; and consumer behavior increasingly mission-driven.
The private sector is being challenged to address problems head-on, find solutions that offer real impact, and to prove and articulate these impacts both internally and externally to their stakeholders and consumers. However, to create both social and business impact is not a straightforward challenge.
This paper shares what Ipsos knows about how businesses need to think about impact – or return on investment (ROI) - in the context of sustainability: how they can make investments with the greatest potential impact, monitor them to ensure impact is achieved, and communicate that impact to bring their key audiences along on the sustainability journey.