Innovative business models driving impact at scale

We can’t manage what we can’t measure.

Get inspired by businesses leading the way in bringing transparency in the impact and sustainability of organisations, products and services.

1) Measure and report on the sustainability of the company

The United Nation’s SDG 12, Target 6 encourages companies to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

A few organisations have emerged to support companies to disclose their environmental impact, such as the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) in the UK. Since 2002, over 8,400 companies have publicly disclosed environmental information through CDP.

Impak, an independant rating agency, has built an impact assessment and scoring solution based on leading international standards, notably the Impact Management Project and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are able to compare companies efforts and rank the largest companies according to the Impak Score, like they have done for the CAC40 index for example. 

Measuring a company’s impact is a relatively new discipline, where consensus and standards still have to be reached. Among the impacts, measuring the company’s environmental footprint is a tedious job. Much of the data is outdated, constant checkups are needed to encourage stakeholders to send updated data, and data might be incomplete.

Here are some businesses innovating to make it easier for businesses to measure their impact. 


Impact Management Project

A forum to reach consensus in how to measure impact:

Business model innovation :
They convene a community of organisations to debate and find consensus on coherent guidelines and standards on how to measure, report, compare and improve.

Impact : Help companies measure and report their impact, and make impact management mainstream

Scale : 2,000 organisations participate since 2016

B Corp

A certification for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corp is administred by the non-profit B Lab.

Business model innovation :
To be granted and to preserve certification, companies must receive a minimum score on the (BIA).  The BIA has two primary objectives for companies: to differentiate their performance, and to help them identify and take concrete actions for improvement.  They must also pay an annual fee ranging from $500 to $50,000, depending on annual sales.

Impact : Accelerating a culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Scale : 3,300 for-profit companies in 71 countries (April 2020)

Business value (ROI) : One study (Chen and Kelly, 2015) found that the average revenue of B Corps over a 5 year period was not significantly different compared to that of their non-certified competitors. Alternatively, the same study found that revenue growth rate was significantly higher in B Corps relative to their publicly held, non-certified, matched firms. 

Salesforce Sustainability Cloud

A carbon accounting product for businesses, launched in 2020 by Salesforce. 

Business model innovation :
A platform that gives businesses a 360-degree view of their environmental impact. As more organizations start using Sustainability Cloud, there will be more peer benchmarking, anonymized data to track progress, communities to share best practices, and ways to input supply chain information.

Impact : Provide data-driven insights to companies to accelerate the world’s efforts towards carbon neutrality

Scale : The app has been developed first for internal needs, and been opened to other organisations in January 2020. 


Kering (Puma)

A luxury goods company.


Business model innovation :
Puma was one of the first companies to establish an Environment Profit & Loss in 2011. Their majority shareholder Kering further developed the methodology and expanded the EP&L to the entire Kering Group. Since then, they published the methodology as an open-source tool in 2016, and have launched an EP&L mobile app. The app immediately displays a product’s impact. For each category of product, it calculates the impact related to carbon emissions, water consumption, water and air pollution, waste, and land use. More than 5,000 indicators are factored in to assess the total impact of the finished product.

Impact : Helps them identify and manage the cost to nature of doing business.  Users of the app can also compare their choices with the best options to see where they can take steps to reduce their product’s environmental impact. 

Scale : Kering achieved a 14% reduction in its overall environmental impacts between 2015 to 2018 and a 77% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations in the same period. 

Business value (ROI) : Sustained growth  (Gucci grew 30% in 2019) and performing better than its competitors

2) Share data on the sustainability of a specific product / service 

Having access to data about one company’s sustainability level is key especially for investor. What will be even more useful for the consumer is to know the impact of the specific product or service that they are using. In B2B, it will help them integrate these data in their reporting, and to select better providers to reach their own sustainability goals. In B2C, it will help the consumer to make more sustainable consumption decisions.



A blockchain-based supply chain transparency platform

Business model innovation :
The solution enables manufacturers to create a digital version of their materials based on trusted (audit) documents. The system will trace raw materials from source, into parts and ultimately to end products, in different industries, including plastics, textile, metals, automotive, electronics and more. 

Impact and business value : Helps companies to prove the sustainability of their supply chain and to create reliability and trust.

Scale : It has successfully developed the first version of a platform tailored to the plastics industry with polyamide supplier DOMO and materials manufacturer Covestro. The objective is to create a strong consortium of companies to set an industry standard for transparency.

Microsoft Sustainability Calculator

An application for Microsoft Azure enterprise customers that provides new insight into carbon emissions data associated with their Azure services.

Business model innovation :
For the first time, those responsible for reporting on and driving sustainability within their organizations will have the ability to quantify the carbon impact of each Azure subscription over a period of time and datacenter region, as well as see estimated carbon savings from running those workloads in Azure versus on-premises datacenters.

Impact : Help businesses report existing emissions related to their cloud usage and make more sustainable computing decisions

Scale : The tool has been launched in January 2020.

Business value (ROI) : A valuable feature for customers who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. « It’s challenging to make and meet meaningful carbon reduction goals without the ability to measure carbon emissions, » the company said.


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