Recent years have seen an increase in ‘sustainability’ initiatives, but there is a difference between real impact and greenwashing. That difference lies in what gets measured and what gets done. Here are some questions to ascertain true impact.
A company was creating a new type of bottled water where a percentage of the revenues went towards water wells in Africa. A noble strategy, but was their execution right?
Beyond vetting the founders, our due diligence included questions to measure the impact across the value chain:
- Where are they getting the water from?
- How sustainable is the water source?
- What is the quality of the water?
- Do people in the community where they’re extracting water from have access to water?
- Does their model increase the cost of water to the community?
- What packaging are they using for the water?
- Is there a better material and if not, what are they doing to counteract the environmental impact of this material?
- How are the bottles being shipped?
- What are they doing to counteract the environmental impact of transportation?
- How are they allocating the funds for water projects in Africa?
- How do they choose their partners?
- What monitoring mechanisms to they have in place?
- What metrics are they using to measure success?
We could then truly assess the impact, the framework needed to tackle the gaps, and the founders’ commitment to proper execution and true value creation.
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