Total impact approach: What CEOs think

187 CEOs across the globe shared their views on the value of measuring total impact. From all industries, they explored the benefits, opportunities and challenges of a total impact approach. There's an overwhelming consensus (85% CEOs) that results from a total impact approach would be more insightful than financial analysis alone. Business leaders saw the more holistic perspective useful in not only managing their business, but also in communicating with certain stakeholders. But less than 25% of CEOs measure their total impact with the lack of availability of data or a robust framework holding them back.

But times are changing. With new research and methodologies in place to turn qualitative social impacts into quantitative, and new approaches such as Total Impact Measurement & Management (TIMM), there is a new way for businesses to understand their total impact. Certainly, some companies are embracing a total impact approach to better understand the value they create behind the balance sheet - we have great case studies from SHE transmission, PUMA, Rio Tinto, HP and Standard Chartered.

How a business benefits from a total impact approach

93% of CEOs agree that measuring their total impact would enable them to identify and manage their risks better and 86% agree that it would enable them to report more effectively to their stakeholders.

 
 

A total impact approach gives you a new perspective to share

Over 99% of CEOs agree that communicating total impact will enhance their reputation with at least one of their stakeholders: most CEOs agree that reputation will be enhanced with their employees (95%), customers (89%) and local communities (81%).

 
 

Using a total impact framework - who's reaping the benefits?

While 72% of CEOs measure economic impact and 62% measure environmental impact as part of their board level decision making, less than 25% of CEOs measure their total impacts i.e. their economic, tax, environmental and social impacts as part of their decision making, and less than 15% report their total impacts externally.

 
 

What stops business from using a total impact approach?

The two biggest barriers to the adoption of total impact measurement are seen as the lack of available data and information needed to assess total impact, and the absence of robust measurement frameworks: 74% and 72%, respectively, see them as some sort of barrier.

 
 

Push or pull - could capital markets drive the adoption of total impact?

30% of CEOs believe it's necessary that capital markets expect business to report on driving adoption of the total impact framework

 
 

Push or pull - will government regulation stimulate take-up?

Just over one quarter of CEOs (28%) believe that government regulation is necessary to get businesses to report on their total impact.

 
 

Value in the UN promoting social and environmental reporting

CEOs believe the UN High Level Panel’s proposal that all large businesses should report on their environmental and social impact will be valuable: 88% think it will provide stakeholders with more meaningful information and 85% expect that it will encourage businesses to take a more holistic approach to decision making.