How can businesses and investors help fill the multi-trillion-dollar gap needed for sustainable development? Simply put: by incorporating sustainability and social impact factors on people and planet into management decisions. Through this course, anyone can learn to improve their organization’s practice of impact measurement and management and align their ESG or impact activities and reporting with emerging global standards.
Impact Measurement and Management for the SDGs is a collaboration between UNDP SDG Impact and the award-winning team at CASE at Duke University. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a steward of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were launched in 2015 and to which 193 countries have signed up to achieve by 2030. The SDGs are a shared plan to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet; they have become the world’s blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
But the public sector cannot meet those goals alone. Climate change, poverty, racial and gender equity, food, health, education, clean water − the list of challenges faced by people and planet is too long. Businesses and investors have stepped in to help. The course was designed around the fundamental elements of the SDG Impact Standards, the only management standards that embed sustainability at the core of an organization in the holistic way intended by the creators of the SDGs. The course demonstrates how the SDG Impact Standards help organizations align with responsible business principles, other standards, and best practices in impact management.
In the course, you’ll learn to improve decision-making for positive impact on people and planet in line with the SDG Impact Standards and the Operating Principles for Impact Management. In the course, we have translated 4 universal practices of impact management into practical actions: SET STRATEGY, INTEGRATE, OPTIMIZE and REINFORCE. We teach the steps to implement these actions through short videos and lessons with concrete practical examples.
Professionals who know how to apply these sustainable management standards are increasingly in demand by institutions globally as they work to improve their performance and reporting around ESG and impact management. If you work or wish to work within an enterprise, a corporation, a fund that manages assets or an asset owner or advisory that oversees investment assets, or if you just want to learn more about impact investing, ESG, social finance or corporate reporting, this course will help you master the core concepts and practices in impact management for the SDGs and other impacts from enterprise and investor perspectives.
This course was written and is delivered by CASE Faculty Director Cathy Clark, and benefitted from extensive input from a larger team from UNDP, CASE, global academic advisors, and other experts. For a full list of acknowledgements, see: https://sites.duke.edu/casei3/for-practitioners/impact-measurement-and-management-for-the-sdgs-course/
What you will learn
Welcome to Impact Measurement and Management for the SDGs!
How can the private sector help fill the $2 trillion gap needed for sustainable development? By getting better at measuring and managing its impact on people and planet. This module introduces the 4 universal steps of impact measurement and management (SET STRATEGY, INTEGRATE, OPTIMIZE and REINFORCE), explores how they can be applied across the investment value chain to simplify ESG and impact practices. It also introduces the SDG Impact Standards and the 5 Dimensions of Impact.
Set Strategy equips you to understand the material issues most relevant to your stakeholders and then define your target SDG outcomes in ways that align with your overall business or investment objectives. You’ll create an impact thesis for each, and, if you’re an investor, a revised investment policy statement that integrates your SDG goals. You’ll also set ABC classification levels for your goals. Note that this week is divided into two parts: first, instruction, review materials, and resources for Enterprises, and second, the equivalent materials for Investors. The material is cumulative, and to complete the course, you will need to pass the quizzes for both roles.
Integrate teaches you how to put into place the resources, tools, and processes that will allow you to measure your SDG impact. If you’re an enterprise this includes setting performance targets, choosing indicators from across the 5 dimensions, and deciding how you’ll track those indicators. If you’re an investor, this involves integrating impact management processes into every step of your investment process, from due diligence through exit. Note that this week is divided into two parts: first, instruction, review materials, and resources for Enterprises, and second, the equivalent materials for Investors. The material is cumulative, and to complete the course, you will need to pass the quizzes for both roles.
Optimize is about what you do when the processes you have set up generate information about your impact. Importantly, this step goes beyond just collecting the data. This is where you use the data to create more impact. We show you how to analyze enterprise data to understand where performance deviated from the plan and why. Then we guide you to use that analysis to make decisions about the new actions you will take to improve impact performance. If you’re an investor, you’ll review the data coming from your investees and monitor their management of SDG impact. You’ll decide whether to hold and engage to increase impact, or exit, taking impact considerations into account. Note that this week is divided into two parts: first, instruction, review materials, and resources for Enterprises, and second, the equivalent materials for Investors. The material is cumulative, and to complete the course, you will need to pass the quizzes for both roles.