In response to the effects of climate change and the need for sustainable practices, organizations across industries have come together to form coalitions with the aim to create long-term, forward-thinking solutions.
Some of the major challenges faced by coalitions include the lack of standardization among participating organizations, maximizing cost-efficiency, and uptake of solutions. Fortunately, these international coalitions can utilize their global reach and knowledge base to develop innovative technology and improve knowledge sharing for efficiency, global impact, and sustainability.
What makes a highly effective global tool? The best tools—whether a software solution or a centralized database—empower participating organizations to overcome three main challenges:
1. Lack of Standardization
Prior to the mass globalization of information that took place following the centralization of online databases, countries and organizations implemented standards using their own systems of data collection and management, which varied widely in terms of methodology. The legacy of these systems is still felt, and organizations often find that data formats are incompatible or inconsistent.
Software and data management systems can help merge multiple data types and sources together into an accessible, shareable format. This enables knowledge across dozens or hundreds of organizations to be shared, understood, and improved. Alternatively, reporting standards such as CDP and GRI use questionnaires to standardize data. Global input across dozens of industries means that companies can benchmark and understand their data in a global context, set accurate targets and goals, and develop responsive sustainability programs and practices.
2. Adoption Hurdles: Costs and Pre-conditioning
Longstanding use of pre-established systems may discourage new organizations from committing to a coalition and the new systems and standards that membership may require. The adoption of new systems also incurs time, staffing, and direct monetary costs.
It is in a coalition’s best interest to demonstrate the benefits of membership, justifying the allocation of an already limited budget to stakeholders. Coalitions aim to develop technology that eases this transition, encourages training and education of staff, and supports organizations in building long-term programs that help them achieve their goals. CDP provides methodology guides, data portals, events, and seminars to encourage learning and improvement among its members. In addition, CDPInsights™, an ADEC Innovation, was built to support CDP respondents in understanding and benchmarking their disclosure scores and performance, facilitating tracking and managing for continued improvement.
3. Uptake and Support
Once a coalition overcomes the challenge of convincing members to join, how can it support members and unite diverse global organizations under one cause, motivating them to move towards impactful goals such as lower emissions or cleaner energy?
Community-building is an essential part of any coalition’s journey, and new and innovative global sustainability technology is vital to that growth. The ZDHC Foundation has created a thriving community of organizations who work together towards the goal of achieving zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in apparel manufacturing. By taking a holistic approach with live events and conferences, leveraging online tools such as the ZDHC Academy, and creating a software solution in the ZDHC Gateway (powered by ADEC Innovations), ZDHC provides its members with a supportive community and an array of resources that help them achieve their targets. It has seen substantial member growth over the past several years, with over 25 signatory brands and 59 value chain affiliates.
Developing technology with global reach drives improvement and progress— for the industry as well as for individual participants. As more member organizations adopt these tools, impact coalitions gain the resources and knowledge they need to further grow and cater to the specific needs of their member base. Highly effective global tools—whether software solutions, global reporting standards, or centralized data sharing efforts—give impact coalitions the ability to derive value from their membership, grow exponentially, overcome the challenges that come with that growth, and make an impact.
ADEC Innovations is a leading provider of ESG solutions, with expertise in delivering fully-integrated consulting, software, and data management services. We have worked extensively with coalitions like the ZDHC Foundation to create collaborative solutions customized to the unique needs of their members.