C10.7.7.3 Monitoring Change


If you begin to take action to make changes, how will you know when you have achieved your goal? How do you know that you are heading in the right direction; evaluate what is and isn’t working?

You will need to monitor the activity and the responses. This is not always straightforward, but the information provided below should give you a starter for 10.


Significant element of the change    Kinds of things to monitor
Direct   environmental and social impacts  This is, in   some ways, the most straightforward. If there is an EMS in place, you may   well be monitoring important impacts already; for example, carbon dioxide   emissions and water use.On the social   side, you could look at the frequency of injuries or occupational diseases.There may be clear things about   how the organisation goes about fulfilling its central purpose, which are   very closely related to its direct impacts. How do you make things? What do   you make? What services do you provide and how? Examples are:

  •   percentage of paper   waste which gets recycled;
  •   percentage of products   sold which are ‘A’ rated for energy efficiency; and
  •   average hours of   training per year, per employee.


What the   organisation is like  This includes everything from   job descriptions and organisational structures, to the everyday conversations   when the boss isn’t listening (which shades into the next category…). The   kinds of things you might use include:

  •   a regular staff   questionnaire on values and on how well they think the organisation is doing   in relation to sustainable development;.
  •   seniority of people who   have environmental protection or social impact in their job descriptions; and  
  •   overhearing people   talking positively about environmental and social initiatives.


The people,   the other players  What skills do people need to   do their jobs? What are people’s beliefs and values? What does the rest of   the supply chain do? What do stakeholders think? The kinds of evidence you   can use include:

  •   surveys of stakeholders   and opinion formers;
  •   inclusion of   sustainable development themes in staff induction; and
  •   numbers of suppliers   meeting minimum environmental or social criteria.  


The external context Are there regulations, national   standards or sector policy positions which need to change? What about market   conditions or costs? When you’re trying to change the external context, it’s   much harder to pin down the extent to which the change is due to your efforts.   However, you can still look for evidence of change. Examples include:

  •   the passing of a new   law, or amendment to regulations or government guidance;
  •   whether a sector   sustainability group of some kind has been formed, and the influence of its   membership; and
  •   increased sales of   products or services which have better environmental or social credentials.


Source: IEMA “Change Management for Sustainable Development”, 2006.


The IEMA produced a practitioner book called “Change Management for Sustainable Development” (Volume 8 of the Best Practice Series) in September 2006. This is available here:  IEMA Practitioner 8 – Change Management