At the core of the Leonardo Centre’s activities lies the GOLDEN dataset, a unique digital database of five million sustainability initiatives by 13,000 companies across all key sectors and countries, categorised by the UN sustainability goals.
The database is the first to distinguish intention from action, providing an objective assessment of the financial and sustainability performance implications of corporate behaviours.
A robust, baseline assessment of the status of an organisation is offered by the data, in terms of the characteristics of its behaviour, i.e. its sustainability initiatives. Next the following questions are asked about these initiatives: what the company has already achieved or is currently doing; why the organisation considers it important to consider SDGs and societal issues; and how the initiatives are implemented, both in terms of internal change requirements and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the initiatives.
Analytical focus on sustainability initiatives allows both organisations and stakeholders to make informed decisions on the type of initiatives that are more likely to create value for the various stakeholder groups. Analysis of the value creation implications of different types of initiatives can, in turn, ignite learning for organisations and stakeholders on how to best address crucial sustainability issues in a value-enhancing way for all key stakeholder groups.
Supporting system transition towards sustainability
Use of the GOLDEN database can help develop system transformation by providing an understanding of the logic and evolution of sustainability actions in order to contribute to societal and organisational well-being. Longitudinal profiles of organisations, industries and countries can be developed, with respect to the degree of maturity and effectiveness in transitioning towards more sustainable models and results. In this sense, the GOLDEN database is highly useful for the following groups:
- Researchers in management, law, finance, economics, human relations, operations, CSR, ethics and sustainability fields.
- Companies interested in understanding the impact of their past and future strategy.
- Investors aiming to assess corporate sustainability for investment decisions informed by a more “objective” observation of corporate actions and the financial and non-financial impacts of these actions.
- Governments and public institutions willing to tailor their policies based on evidence of the most effective interventions.
- Consultants willing to support organisations, investors and governments moving towards sustainability.
The Golden database can be leveraged for:
Forecasting and optimisation models for corporate strategy and policy design
Combining our initiative-level data with corporate-level information, statistical modeling is leveraged to study the effectiveness of different behavioural strategies on corporate performance indicators. The appraisal of the impact of different types of sustainability actions can be useful to inform strategy formulation and to develop cases on the best practices at corporate level. Similarly, modeling and simulation exercises can be applied to study industry dynamics and the relationship between sustainability actions and sector-specific characteristics, e.g. concentration, competition, legislation. At country level, the digital dataset can be employed to create models to illustrate the relationship between sustainability initiatives and their contributions towards addressing specific sustainability challenges. Consequently, evidence is provided to inform policy-makers on potential intervention routes, outlining best practices and scaling up related initiatives to deliver positive change and improve stakeholder well-being in communities, cities and regions across the world.
Corporate, industry, and country-level sustainability reports
An in-depth analysis of the quality and efficacy of initiatives in tackling sustainability objectives can be provided in reports. Insightful pictures will emerge of the scope, types and objectives of initiatives implemented in organisations within specific industries and countries, as well as of the stakeholder recipients of the actions and/or those actively engaged in the realisation of the initiatives. Evidence from modeling and simulation will be included – at corporate, industry and country level – together with more qualitative analyses of cases and best practices in order to inform and guide system transition towards sustainability. In other words, reports would be employed as a mechanism to support environmental and social sustainability, through refined business practices and more informed investment decisions that are better aligned with long term public interest, underpinned by evidence-based policies.