This is a story about the SDG Monitor, how it all started and how our business idea first saw light. This is also a story about three women who want companies to grow sustainably without harming the environment, and who want to help United Nations in meeting the goals of Agenda 2030. We are committed to develop SDG Monitor until 2030 (and beyond) and we invite you to join us to the journey!
From a sustainability online course to a business idea and beyond
One year ago, I registered to an online course in Business Sustainability Management at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. On the online course, learning about different factors of business sustainability, I met Johanna, an experienced business sustainability leadership and communications consultant. Very quickly we started discussing about business opportunities together. So little did I knew back then that taking that course was going to bring big positive changes into my life, both professionally and personally.
With Johanna, we tried to meet up in Paris in December but the public traffic strike hit and we didn’t manage to meet. However, we started our weekly meetings on Zoom which turned daily meetings in March when we finally succeeded to meet face to face in Helsinki. At that moment, the COVID-19 epidemic had already started in some part of the world but no one knew how urgent and profound it would develop in a very short time. So it did happen, and we decided that this will not stop us from developing our business idea but the contrary. We decided to work even harder to get things done, and so we did!
Vilma joined our strong team quickly after March to support us with the methodological analysis and implications. Vilma is a Master’s student in Data Science at the Eindhoven University of Technology and she knows how to make sense of any piece of mathematical formula and explain it to anyone in an understandable way.
Established in Finland by three citizens of the world, we started developing the SDG Monitor with a web development company Hubble in August 2020 and they delivered the tool in mid-October as planned. The brand visual identity is done by a real magic maker Pamela Carbonell who created the beautiful design for our tool and website elements.
Our team’s skill sets are definitely complimentary and we have fun while working together. I believe that where you focus your energy, you grow. And our purpose-driven business is the one where I want to focus my energy now and in the future. Consequently, it is safe to say that we are the end product of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership online course with a Data Engineering twist!
Agenda 2030 – United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals outline a sustainable world, and introduces new markets and business opportunities. On an early stage we knew we wanted to do something with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also called as Agenda 2030 as it is the best available framework to measure a company sustainability plan holistically.
From the struggle to actually measure sustainability and especially measuring progress of long-term goals, we got an idea to build a measuring tool that uses the SDGs and that helps companies and organizations to measure their sustainability performance and show their real impacts.
Our mission is to help the United Nations to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) by 2030. We are committed to the Agenda 2030 and we help companies and organizations to show their environment, social and governance SDG impacts, measure their performance and to actively track the progress in achieving the global goals through their business based sustainability actions.
To translate the global goals into local business, we have regenerated all 17 goals, 169 targets and 231 indicators to better suit for business purposes. Yes, you read that right! With SDG Monitor you can pair your sustainability actions with SDG business indicators that best corresponds with your action and its goal.
For People, Planet, Profit and Innovation
We care and we help companies and organizations to care about the positive and negative impacts their operations have on People, Planet, Profit and Innovation.Tuuli-Anna Tiuttu, CEO, SDG Monitor
A sustainable business is one that is concerned about economic, social and environment impacts that are associated with their current and future operations while ensuring a safe, healthy and prosperous life for our future generations. Integrating sustainability into your business strategy creates new business possibilities, saves costs, realizes as a stronger brand and builds purpose and company culture to the next level.
PEOPLE – can you identify your company’s social impacts on your stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, communities) and choose the best KPIs to measure them? A company internal and external social responsibility means socially responsible and ethical operations throughout its supply chain. Read my recent blog post about what is social impact to learn what is included in social impact of a sustainable business and its supply chain.
PLANET – what actions your company is taking to reduce its impacts on the environment? We help companies and organizations to identify and understand the impacts of their operations to the environment. SDG Monitor gives the environmental impacts for your sustainability actions and visualizes the action progress data on dashboards.
PROFIT – what actions your company is taking to grow your business and enhance social wellbeing without harming the environment? We help companies and organizations to identify and understand the economic and governance impacts of their operations. SDG Monitor gives the economic impacts for your sustainability actions and visualizes the action progress data on dashboards.
INNOVATION – What actions your company is taking to enhance sustainable and green innovation as well as forming multi-stakeholder partnerships? We help companies and organizations to identify and understand the new business opportunities and areas for cost savings while creating a stronger brand and purpose-driven company culture. The role of rethinking the whole value chain, R&D and opportunities for innovation are important in transitioning from linear business model to a circular one. Innovations, scaling and redefining the industry standards are examples of successful results of partnerships. Partnering with others, the companies get many more benefits than what they would get if acting alone.
These are the things we care about and what we help companies to care about too. To use the SDG Monitor, you don’t have to know the ESG and SDG impacts of your actions. SDG Monitor pairs your action with the most suitable ESG Impact and SDG Business Indicator. Our sustainability dashboards will then show your journey! You can showcase how sustainable you really are with SDG Monitor.
Less is more
Everything we do, we try to create more value by producing and consuming less. Our way of working applies the Less is More philosophy, in everything we do. We want to develop SDG Monitor so that our clients use each and every functionality of it one hundred percent. What we don’t want to create are functions and elements that our clients don’t find valuable or easy to use.
Less can be so much more!
When you value what you measure, you become concerned about your action progress and you prioritize your actions. Treasure what you measure by choosing measurable KPIs, the metrics and how to track the progress. Use timely data and set up a red flag system that alerts when you are going to the wrong direction and shows where you need to take action.
SDG Monitor framework has five steps
1. Integrate your Action Plan into the SDGs
Companies and organizations are increasingly connecting the SDGs into their sustainability strategies. Companies want to show which SDGs they contribute through their actions. We believe that the SDGs are the best available framework to measure an holistic sustainability plan. SDG Monitor makes it easy for companies to find the best matches with their actions and SDG business indicators.
2. Measure Progress
Sustainability reporting produces a lot of data from different sources and with different metrics. The different metrics (kgCO2, kWh, %, € etc.) can make it hard to show the bigger picture of the progress in a sustainability plan in a concise way. SDG Monitor converts your data into index score, regardless the metric, so that your sustainability data can be studied as one. What are the five reasons to measure sustainability performance? Learn them in my recent blog post here.
3. Show Impact
There is a growing need for companies to show their environment, social and governance impacts to their stakeholders. Business operations’ impacts are of interest of employees, investors, suppliers and owners. With SDG Monitor you can show the overall and ESG impact of your actions.
4. Visualize data
Intelligently visualized data is ready to be shown in any presentation, annual report or event where you present your company sustainability policy. Dashboards are a modern way to show your sustainability journey, show your performance and progress against your goals. SDG Monitor visualizes your sustainability policy data into five different dashboards that you can share with stakeholders or include to any presentation, report or social media channel to support your sustainability performance.
5. Communicate Performance
Communication is the crucial factor to show your real journey to your stakeholders. With the SDG monitor dashboards you can transparently communicate your sustainability development. Sustainability communications are most effective when a company can show their real progress and impacts using data that is up to date. SDG Monitor allows you to build positive brand reputation and increase stakeholder engagement by transparent communication of your actions progress.
Watch a video that explains how these five steps create the SDG Monitor framework.
Just start measuring your sustainability
Whether you are a small or large company or organization from any industry, you can start measuring your progress and communicating your sustainability performance with SDG Monitor today. Our users say the SDG Monitor is a clear and easy progress tracking and sustainability communication tool. It shows connection between actions and SDGs and provides a clear understanding of sustainability goals achievement. Ready to make positive change and upgrade your sustainability data and communication today? Subscribe to SDG Monitor here.
Check our subscriptions and online programs on our website SDG Monitor and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for valuable content on business sustainability measurement and communication.
“The Smartest way to measure your sustainability performance”
Sustainability is a team effort, so start your sustainability journey today!