Sustainable Innovation

I stand corrected about the concept of a “Social Footprint” thanks to a message from Mark McElroy the Executive Director of The Center for Sustainable Innovation, I’ve learned that a team of esteemed sustainability researchers, and management consulting veterans, introduced the Social Footprint methodology and Proof of Concept to the world, just one year ago this coming March.

Essentially the Social Footprint is a measurement and reporting systems that organizations can use to asses, manage and report on their impacts on people and society in a broad range of areas.
Press Release from CSR Newswire 3.20.2006
‘Social Footprint’ Method Announced
(CSRwire) West Windsor, VT – The Center for Sustainable Innovation (CSI) issued a report today in which findings concerning the viability of a new corporate sustainability measurement and reporting method called the “Social Footprint” were announced. According to CSI Executive Director, Mark W. McElroy, “The Social Footprint is the first non-financial reporting method capable of mathematically calculating the true bottom-line impact of an organization on society. While other methods, like the Global Reporting Initiative, do an adequate job of expressing top-line impacts, only the Social Footprint makes it possible to compare top-line impacts with actual human conditions in society, and thereby compute the social bottom-line of an organization.”
The CSI report, entitled The Social Footprint – Proof of Concept, marks the completion of the first phase in a three-year project to fully develop the method. The report includes an introduction to the Social Footprint, the theory behind it, and a sample illustration of its use as applied to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. In the CSI report, Wal-Mart’s global Social Footprint is calculated based on the company’s contributions towards achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, one of many different analyses possible under the method. Free downloadable copies of the report can be found on CSI’s home page at
The Social Footprint is being jointly developed by the Center for Sustainable Innovation and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In light of the success of the first phase, CSI will now be turning to the corporate community in order to build an advisory board and to recruit partners interested in helping to pilot, test, and refine the method. Corporate parties interested in participating should contact Mark W. McElroy, Executive Director, CSI, at
About Center for Sustainable Innovation
The Center for Sustainable Innovation is a Vermont non-profit corporation located in West Windsor, Vermont, founded in 2004 with a vision of working for sustainability, both within and by means of innovation. While CSI is currently devoting most of its resources to research and development in the area of corporate sustainability reporting, it also has deep knowledge of organizational learning and adaptive systems theory and the importance of both to sustainability. CSI’s founder and Executive Director, Mark W. McElroy, is a former partner at KPMG Peat Marwick, and board chair emeritus of the Sustainability Institute, also located in Vermont. CSI’s website with more information can be found at
For more information please contact:
Mark W. McElroy , Center for Sustainable Innovation
(802) 484-0050

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