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r3.0 is collaborating with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) on its four-year Sustainable Development Performance Indicators Project (2018-2022).

Specifically, r3.0 Senior Director Bill Baue authored the kick-off paper for the project, Compared to What? A Three-Tiered Typology of Sustainable Development Performance Indicators: From Incremental to Contextual to Transformational, which introduces the Three-Tiered Typology of indicators that is predicated on the Sustainability Quotient established by r3.0 Advocation Partner Mark McElroy (see figure below).

This equation forms the basis of the Three Tiered Typology: 

Tier One: Incrementalist Numeration

Numerator indicators focus on actual impacts, including absolute indicators, as well as relative or intensity indicators that are non-normative, and therefore incrementalist by definition.

Tier Two: Contextualized Denomination

Denominator indicators contextualize actual impacts against normative impacts. Also known as “Context-Based” indicators, denominator indicators take into account sustainability thresholds in ecological, social, and economic systems, as well as allocations of those thresholds to organizations and other entities.

Tier Three: Activating Transformation

Transformative indicators add the element of implementation and policy to normative denominator indicators to instantiate change within complex adaptive systems.

Baue authored a follow-up paper focused on Tier Two – Contextualized Denomination (forthcoming).

Importantly, Baue and McElroy collaborated on a Manual of draft Indicators for all three Tiers (forthcoming).

Building on this Manual, r3.0 has launched a Project with UNRISD for Pilot Testing the Three Tiers of Indicators with both traditional For-Profit Enterprises (FPEs) as well as Social & Solidarity Economy Organizations & Enterprises (SSEOEs), which they can handle in-house or with support from r3.0 Advocation Partners (or other consultants). r3.0 is providing the up-front education on how to implement the indicators, as well as consolidating, synthesizing, and analyzing the results. We see this as a ground-breaking development, breaking through to establish thresholds-based and transformational indicators, built on the foundation of existing Tier One Incrementalist Indicators from UNCTAD (see here).

You can find the Brochure for this Pilot Testing Project here.

To kick off the 4-year SDPI project, UNRISD convened a Conference in June 2019 in Geneva gathering diverse experts to explore the question encapsulated in the Conference Title: Measuring and Reporting Sustainability Performance: Are Corporations and SSE Organizations Meeting the SDG Challenge? The Program included a keynote by Global Reporting Initiative Co-Founder (and r3.0 Ambassador) Allen White that referenced the concepts covered in the r3.0 report (see the Conference Twitter feed at #Reporting4Sustainability for a detailed narrative of the Conference as it unfolded). 

Additional Resources:

Conference Page

Conference Twitter Feed:  #Reporting4Sustainability