Sustainability organizations and initiatives are working towards creating data services and products that can support sustainability decision-making and impact. Effective delivery of these services requires coordination among the initiatives because they often seek similar types and sources of data and information on sustainability such as on impact indicators (e.g. SDGs) and sustainability risks (e.g. deforestation or forced labour). They also serve similar stakeholders (sustainability data consumers). Common infrastructure and platforms to mobilize the data is also being developed to help reduce data management costs so that organizations can instead focus their resources on insights analysis and data value creation.
If we can form a picture of the landscape of initiatives and their data needs, challenges, and services, we can also begin to understand how data needs to flow and how (data governance) to create optimal and consistent value.
The projects below are only some examples of those that could support the delivery of sustainability impact at scale through data governance and strategy tools. The resources provide insights about some of the emerging best practice on data literacy, data ethics, and data privacy.
Achieving Sustainability at Scale using Data and Information
Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is a global network bringing together governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations dedicated to using the data revolution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This initiative envisions a world in which everyone is able to engage in solving the world’s greatest problems by effectively using data and fostering trust and accountability in the sharing of data.
Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition
GODAN is a global partnership advocating for food security and promotes proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable.
ISEAL Alliance Certification Atlas
Voluntary sustainability standards (ISEAL Alliance members) are working towards the creation of a Certification Atlas, a map-based set of data layers that spatially represent the scope and location of certified production at a global scale. The Certification Atlas will be an important resource to show the breadth, scale and influence of sustainability standards. Its ambition is to create additional data layers that include sustainability practice uptake and performance. This data and information is valuable to a range of sustainability stakeholders including company supply chain actors, sustainability initiatives across a range of sectors, and voluntary standards themselves.
The Accountability Framework
The Accountability Framework is a set of common norms and guidance for establishing, implementing, and demonstrating progress on ethical supply chain commitments in agriculture and forestry.
The Data Literacy Project
Did you know that there is a growing movement to increase data literacy across all types of organizations? The Data Literacy Project is a global community dedicated to creating a data-literate world. It offers online assessments, educational resources on data literacy, and a community of collaborators working on improving data literacy for their businesses and organizations.
The Open Data Institute
The Open Data Institute is a UK-based organization that works with companies and governments to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem where people can make better decisions using data and manage any harmful impacts.
In 2019, the ODI conducted pilots in order to explore how data trusts can increase or help data sharing among organizations with the idea that a trust can provide organized governance for data so that data providers and users can exchange data more confidently while respecting data ethics and emerging data privacy regulation.
The ODI has also developed useful frameworks to explore how data can create value effectively and responsibly. These are valuable learning tools since low data literacy is a key barrier to ensuring data quality, fluid movement, and sharing for the benefit of sustainability. Resources include the Data Skills Framework, the Data Ethics Canvas, and the engaging data skills game, Datopolis.