Where is that impact hiding?
Companies creates impact across a number of stages. We call this their impact value chain.
It’s important to understand a company’s impact value chain to properly assess its impact, to identify areas for improvement and to avoid negative or unintended ones.
Now, let’s dive in.
#1: Raw materials
The impact of a company’s resources. Are they produced sustainably, can they be changed with more sustainable alternatives?
Sneakers made from leather vs. recycled materials?
This is a well known one. Are the suppliers respectful of their society and the environment? Do they have negative externalities? Child labour, gender balance are some topics to pay attention to.
#3: Inbound logistics
How is all that input being shipped in? Can anything be sourced locally to reduce CO2 emissions? Can there be efficiencies in logistics.
What’s going on under the company’s roof? Is the company practicing what it is preaching? Can it do better on gender, renewable energy use, stakeholder relationships, product design to improve its impact, reduce its water use, recycle its waste?
Just like inbound logistics, can the company improve its distribution to reduce waste or CO2 emissions?
#6: Product use
A great example is energy efficiency of appliances. Or durability of fashion products. What is the impact of the product when in use compared to what it can be. Can it last longer? Can it pollute less?
#6: Product end life
Last but not least, what happens when the product dies. Is it recyclable, is the company collecting and upcycling it?
Impact is everywhere and we have the opportunity to improve it at all stages.
Happy impact discovering!
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