Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Triple Bottom Line Blog

Andrew Savitz and Karl Weber, who wrote the book The Triple Bottom Line, now have a blog about triple bottom lines.

We've talked about the triple bottom line approach before. This is the effort to develop corporate sustainability reports that measure the company's economic, social, and environmental results.

The link to community indicators efforts is tantalizingly out there. We're measuring community progress in these same areas -- whether we call it a sustainability model or a quality of life model or a healthy community model or a performance benchmark model, we tend to report indicators of economic progress, environmental protection, and social well-being -- though we also may create other sections in our reports to cover aspects like civic engagement. Sometimes we rename the elements we measure as "people, place, and prosperity." But it's all related concepts.

So why should we pay attention to corporate sustainability reports? First of all, we're starting to realize that private and commercial data sets may be tremendously useful for measuring community trends, especially since corporate data tracks more information about us than government.

Secondly, the efforts to standardize corporate sustainability reports through the Global Reporting Initiative is a model community indicators practitioners could well follow. I suspect we'll be talking more about this later, so now's the time to get familiar with CSR's and GRI.

And third, this is just really interesting stuff with tremendous community impacts, which is what we're all about. For example, this blog entry about a regulatory race to the top shakes up convential wisdom on the impact of globalization on environmental and labor-law regulation.

I've added a link to the Triple Bottom Line blog in the blog section on the left of this page. Take a look and let me know what you think.


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