Written by futureofwaste

This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

You have decided to work at reducing waste in your tourism/event organization ? Welcome on board!  In this section we will develop on impact measurement.  Impact measurement evaluate the consequences of your waste stategy, There are two main and complementary reasons for promoting a impact measurement. It enables you to develop:

  • your strategy of management (evaluate your improvement), mostly for internal uses, to pilot your waste policies, helping to adapt your waste solutions and actions, and to motivate your troops.
  • your strategy of accountability (evaluate you efficacy), mostly for external uses, to compare yourself, give feedbacks to stakeholders and to communicate.

Why?

Impact measurement can help to :

  • Assess the success of a solution or a strategy, and in fine improve your efficacy
  • Answer regulation requirements
  • Compare yourself with your peers and competitors
  • Communicate about your actions
  • Motivate your teams
  • Raise funds for future actions

Impact measurement is a complex (but fascinating) field that requires time, resources and dedication. We encourage you to dig further through readings or by recruiting trained professionals – In France, Convergence has listed organisations working on helping you discover, get information, trained, financed, and supported.

In the meantime, we offer you a simplified methodology that will help estimate the expected impacts of your actions, even if you have little resources and data available.

As long as you are transparent about the hypothesis and calculation methodology you choose, you will not be frowned upon for trying. It can even bring about interesting conversations with your stakeholders.

1. Data collection: compare the before / after direct impact

List some of the solutions (implemented or that you want to implement) you would like to evaluate. For each, write down the consequences that would have happened if you had not adopted the solution. Examples: If it wasn’t for – eco-cups: I would have bought & dumpt 300 plastic glasses ; -for recycling paper: I would have dumpt 10 kg of paper in the black bin.

  • Use the information from your initial waste audit (see step 4) : you can refer to the amount of waste that was generated previously, or the estimation you did..
  • If you want to estimate the potential impact before having launched the solutions : you can refer to what other local conventional players do by searching for data of the sector (or asking them!).
  • You may use additional tools to collecte datas, such as online & paper questionnaires, social media polls, interview with clients, reputation barometers…

2. Externalities: take into account the lifecycle

Depending on how much time and resources you want to allocate to your impact study, and addditional point you might want to investigate is the indirect impact of your proejects. Especially regarding the global lifecycles of the items required for the solutions

When comparing the previous and incoming solutions don’t forget to understand the impact both have on health, natural resources and ecosystems, considering the  products’s resources, material processing and production, transportation, uses, and end of life.

They might not all be significant so try to focus on the most important ones. Acknowledge for instance that it takes water to wash reusable cups, or that you also use resources with take-away packaging

3. Determine SMART indicators

As it takes time to conduct exhaustive social and environmental impact study, we encourage you to select a reasonable number of indicators. Be ready to explain why you choose some indicators rather than others.

Indicators are meant to be for comparison (before/after, objectives/realised, progress over time, comparison with similar organisations…)? Theywill enable you to follow in time the impacts of an action, to pilot this action by giving yourself objectives, and to communicate.  

  • They can be quantified (e.g. % of recycled glass), can be observed (e.g. litter seen on the ground), or declared (number of person which have gave positive feedbacks about your waste strategy).
  • When you set indicators, think in advance about the process to get that information. That mean they should not be too complicated to develop for your staff, and you have adopted the associated processes (e.g. to scale your bin when its collected).
  • Think over the pertinence of your indicator over time: are you going to use it every year, every month, is it a one time measure ?
  • It can make sense to co-construct those indicators with key stakeholders (such as clients or donors)

We recommand to adapt the indicators to your priorities, check existing metrics (IRIS, GVE, or the one used by your local authorities), and to use simple measurements, such as :

  • ….. Kg / % / units – of waste avoided
  • ….. Kg / % / units – of waste diverted from landfill
  • ….. Kg / % / units – of waste not dumped on the ground
  • …. CO² equivalent saved

Try to be SMART: Specific (target a specific area for improvement), Measurable (make sure the data to compare is available or reachable), Assignable (specify who is responsible), Realistic (state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources), Time-related (specify when the results can be achieved)

4. Evaluate the impact

Now that your indicators are defined, you “just” have to measure them !

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This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

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