Corporate America is increasingly focusing attention on sustainability, stakeholder capitalism, and social return on investment, the goal being to measure environmental and social value unaccounted for in traditional financial reporting. The Decency Foundation is focusing on the other end of the spectrum, working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – comprising 99% of all firms – to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their treatment of employees, customers, suppliers, and the larger community.
Beginning with the small farm sector, The Decency Foundation has developed the Nu Metric, a tool designed to monitor and measure SMEs’ social and environmental performance in real time. Relying on quantitative and qualitative data, the Nu Metric allows the Foundation to: (1) gauge a company’s fit with its values-based mission; (2) provide ongoing analysis and recommendations for improving its environmental/ social footprint; and (3) develop strategies to improve its social/environmental practices while driving financial sustainability and growth. Beyond its specific project initiatives, The Decency Foundation facilitates Nu Metric’s adoption by SMEs looking for a practical tool to effectively assess and enhance their social and environmental performance.
The Foundation recently brought on an experienced research team led by Lucy Hurst, Nigel Holloway, and Maria-Luiza Apostolescu to develop the Nu Metric. Their extensive research and thought leadership with the Economist Intelligence Unit and Barilla Food Sustainability Index will help make the Nu Metric a valuable and accessible tool for small farms and small businesses across all industries. We are also examining critical interpersonal dynamics to help guide business leaders toward improved relationships with their employees, communities, and external stakeholders.