Link: Coca-Cola's 5by20 Website
What Does Empowerment Look Like? Measuring Coca-Cola’s Socio-Economic Impact
When it comes to inclusive business, The Coca-Cola Company is often considered to be an industry leader in its ability to find synergies between development goals and core business operations. Among the company’s most notable initiatives is the Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative, which aims to “enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across its global value chain by 2020.”
A recipient of the 2013 Catalyst Award, 5by20 addresses the most common barriers women face when trying to succeed in the marketplace by offering women access to business skills training courses, financial services and connections with peers or mentors.
As these women succeed as entrepreneurs, their communities grow stronger.
But how do you measure the impacts of this and other inclusive business initiatives? And what does it truly mean to “measure impact?” These are the questions that brought corporate leaders, including Marika McCauley Sine, Director of International Public Affairs at The Coca-Cola Company, and development practitioners to Washington, D.C. on March 27th.
In its new publication, Measuring socio-economic impact: A guide for business, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) addresses these questions while making the argument that there is a business case for measurement. According to McCauley Sine, “measuring impact shines a light on elements of our value chain. We might know we have a really significant footprint in terms of the number of retailers that we work with in the marketplace, but we may not know how many of those are women owned or operated. So the idea of bringing the development lens to our value chain gives us information that we need to better inform our decisions.”
Those that gathered at the DC event, hosted by WBCSD and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), while echoing the view that measurement is important, honed in on two significant issues that plague the impact measurement space: time and standardization. As quoted in Devex Impact, "It is indicative that we don’t have more [multinationals] doing this work, and we have to ask ourselves why," said McCauley Sine, who worked on a three-year partnership with Oxfam to measure the company’s impact in Zambia and El Salvador. "Coca-Cola was proud to invest time and resources to advance this field, but not every company can spend three years and significant resources to do a study like this."
With regard to standardization, McCauley Sine said that when it came to measuring the impacts of the 5by20 initiative, Coca Cola asked a panel of 20 stakeholders to identify the top five metrics that should be measured to indicate “economic empowerment.” There was limited consensus amongst the stakeholders, indicating the complexities of measuring results of economic empowerment programs in ways that are universally recognized.
When it comes down to it, in reality many companies have opted to show their impacts by relaying stories of success. Coca-Cola’s 5by20.com website and 2012 Progress Update report includes profiles on women who have benefitted from the program across Africa as well as in India, Brazil and the Philippines. According to McCauley Sine, “this kind of measurement is valuable to our business and to our stakeholders: being able to tell the story about our impacts is important.”