Our methodology focuses on how people, process, and technology intersect to derive value from data. It was developed for market-based sustainability initiatives (originally for sustainability standards).

The goal of the methodology is to achieve systems and processes that enable people to do the “right” thing at the “right” time with the “right” data. This results in improved insights, decision-making, data quality, data protection, and ultimately business value.

Too often, organizations hurt their efforts to successfully derive impact from data because they have a singular focus on technology to alleviate data pain. Our approach brings key resources together in a step-wise and non-invasive way. That means we focus on acknowledging and formalizing existing data processes and roles while documenting them so that you can depend on them to seize data opportunities and solve data problems. The approach is focused on building collaboration and empowerment of the staff that know your data best. The result is early delivery of value with a set of practices and tools that can be iterated on to build transparent and effective data pipelines.

Our approach is a series of steps and tools that together make up the Sustainability Data Impacts Framework. The framework was initially developed in 2019 with the ISEAL Alliance to support improved use of data for sustainability standards organizations. It is founded on a successful approach called Non-Invasive Data Governance created by data governance expert Robert Seiner.

The framework ties together essential steps to help your teams journey through the life of your most important data. The framework has built-in tools for conducting data privacy due diligence for compliance with GDPR and other emerging data privacy regulation. The steps in the framework provide clarity and trust for data stewards and data managers about which data is most valuable, which products and services depend on it, what the data means, which data must be protected due to privacy regulation, and how the data flows and is cared for within your organization.

Once you have clarity in these areas, you will be able to use practical tools to document the uses of key data and articulate your data policies to share data confidently. Outcomes include greater value for sustainability stakeholders from key data and greater agility in providing transparency and evidence of effectiveness. Your teams will also have a blueprint for success with any future data opportunity or challenge.

Sustainability Data Impacts Framework

How is the framework used?

We begin the journey with an assessment of your organizational conditions, resources, and culture to support data. This provides valuable context to determine the most effective path through the framework and highlight strengths and opportunities in current use of data to deliver impacts.

After an assessment of conditions, we get practical right away by using a relevant business use case where you are experiencing data problems or see opportunities to unlock data value. We use business case data together with mapping tools and other resources to illustrate the value of good data practices while revealing data barriers and opportunities in your data management approach and workflows. The result is a clear set of actions to upgrade your data products and services such as reports, dashboards, and shared data sets into trusted assets to deliver impact.

Once we walk through the journey using these tools, you will have a repeatable process and blueprint to build stores of high quality, trusted data that your teams can use confidently.

As you tackle other data challenges and opportunities using good practice tools, a solid data management approach will emerge that can offer consistent value to decision-makers and collaborators. Your organization will be enabled to harness the value of trusted data sources, data products, and data services so that you can deliver impact to sustainability funders, clients, and stakeholders.  

With diligent application, data problems will no longer be a mystery. You will feel empowered to apply the tools with your teams to proactively reduce data debt and confusion.