SDG impact measurement in six steps

We have developed a method that provides insight into our contribution to the SDGs. The results of our SDG impact measurement (SDG IM) show our impact with respect to our ambitions and forms the basis for a dialogue about our next steps and actions.

The SDG IM framework

The SDG IM framework measures our impact on the SDGs. On the one-hand, this is purpose-driven to determine if we make a positive impact on society. On the other hand, it helps us comply with current reporting standards for non-financial reporting, such as the EU directive and future European Commission legislation, including the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Measuring SDG impact of our operations now and our client work in the future

Our SDG IM shows the impact that we have on the SDGs and our progress towards the targets and ambitions that we have set for our focus SDGs on a yearly basis. The framework currently measures the impact of our operations and in 2022 we started with the development of indicators to measure the impact that we have with our client work. The SDG IM serves as a starting point for a dialogue on our positive, neutral and negative impact, and facilitates the discussion on how to maximise our positive impact on society.

With the client framework, we want to obtain insights into the impact (positive, neutral or negative) of our service offering.

SDG stappen
SDG stappen
SDG stappen

Our SDG impact measurement method consists of six steps.

Overview of material and focus SDGs

Step 1: Select our material and focus SDGs

The (material) SDGs have been integrated in our value-creation process since 2015/2016. The integration of the SDGs in our value-creation model demonstrates our contribution to these SDGs. We regularly assess which SDGs are most material to our stakeholders, considering the impact of our operations, services and the wider value chain. These SDGs represent the social, environmental and economic topics to which we can contribute most. The starting points of the impact measurement are the nine material SDGs in our value-creation process.

We are convinced that we are most effective when we focus. To this end, we select focus SDGs for which we can make the most difference. Currently, these are our focus SDGs:

SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
SDG 13: Climate action

We expand our long-term value creation process by measuring our impact on (nine) material and (four) focus SDGs.

Step 2: Define indicators: Create shortlist

For each of our material SDGs, we create a list of potential indicators from existing reporting standards, including those of GRI, UNCTAD and the WEF IBC Metrics. We conducted interviews with experts within PwC, in which they assess the indicators in terms of relevance, contribution to the SDG, influenceability, independence and availability of data. We select the most appropriate indicators per SDG and also add PwC-specific indicators. The selection of indicators is the basis for our SDG impact measurement.

SDG PwC ambition for 2030 PwC target 2023/2024

Achieve gender balance and equal opportunities

Yearly target of 40/40% intake and 30/25% equal ratio promotion of female directors and partners respectively.

Achieve sustainable growth within the boundaries of social and environmental systems

In 2024 we measure and report our contribution to the SDGs through our client work

Achieve an inclusive and diverse culture and equal opportunities irrespective of age, disability, cultural background, sexual orientation or other status

Yearly target of 12.5% intake and 12.5% equal ratio promotion of non-western origin directors and partners.

Achieve a positive environmental impact across our value chain

- 40% CO2 reduction
- zero waste
- a fossil- free carfleet
- 30% less motorised mobility (50% less in 2030)
- 50% Science Based Targets coverage with suppliers

Step 3: Define ambitions and targets

We defined ambitions and targets for our focus SDGs. These provide direction in terms of minimising our negative impact and maximising our positive impact. Our ambitions reflect what is needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Our targets for specific aspects of the ambitions that will require attention over the coming years.

Step 4: Collecting data and calculate impact

Data is collected and calculations performed for the selected indicators. The calculations are made in the Responsible Business Simulator (RBS): a tool developed by PwC that supports strategic decision making based on financial and non-financial information. With this approach all indicator values are converted into a single unit of measurement so that impact scores can be compared and aggregated per SDG. Threshold values are defined to determine whether there is a positive, neutral or negative impact for each indicator.

Thresholds for positive, neutral or negative impact are determined by comparing our performance to a reference scenario. A reference scenario (or threshold) could be the performance of peers, sector averages or the performance of the Dutch market, or in the case of higher ambitions; our own internal targets.

Step 5: Interpret and visualise the outcomes

Impact measurement contains by definition inherent uncertainties. The landscape of measurement methodologies, tools and guidance is scattered. There is no harmonised approach and methodology choices and assumptions have an effect on the outcomes. Our framework includes assumptions on thresholds for positive, neutral and negative impact. It also includes assumptions and calculation methods for evaluation of impact in a single unit.

The outcomes of our impact measurement are shown in the bar chart which provides insights into our relative performance across the SDGs. The green bar represents our positive impact on an SDG while the grey and red bars represent our neutral and negative impact, respectively. Lastly, black bars represent impact that could not be determined, because there a threshold could not be defined. Over the coming years, we will also show our annual progress and the extent of our impact.

Results of 2021/2022 SDG Impact Measurement

Step 6: Refine the framework

Our Impact Measurement framework covers direct impact from our operations and indirect impact across our value chain. Indicators for the impact of operations are generally more established in reporting practice. Indicators that have a wider value chain scope tend to be less well-established in existing practice and standards. Further development of the SDG IM framework is influenced by developments in the non-financial reporting landscape, like the reporting standards according to the CSRD. 

In 2022, the framework was refined to better measure our impact. Indicators were added, removed and further aligned with definitions used in our annual report. The thresholds that define when impact is positive or negative have been updated for several indicators and more ambitious targets have been set for SDG 5. The appendix provides an overview of the changes made in the KPIs and thresholds, and why.

Read more about the background to our SDG impact measurement: the Responsible Business Simulator, assumptions and indicators.

Contact us

Wineke Haagsma

Wineke Haagsma

Head of Corporate Sustainability, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 170 13 44

Myrthe van der Plas

Myrthe van der Plas

Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 295 32 31

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