Measuring Business Impacts on People’s Well-being and Sustainability


‌What is the contribution of business to people’s and communities’ well-being? How do businesses impact their environment and how sustainable are their practices? The OECD Statistics and Data Directorate is expanding its work on measuring well-being at the country level to include the business community. 

Business have a significant impact on people’s lives, whether as employees, consumers, suppliers, investors or the broader society. Although there are an increasing number of actors examining how companies impact on well-being and create value beyond financial wealth, there is no common agreement on how to measure these impacts. As a result, the performance of businesses in areas of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Sustainability, as well as other dimensions of well-being, remain hard to examine and learn from. This new strand of work aims to create a common base of understanding on how to measure the impact of businesses on well-being, and how to compare the existing tools and frameworks.  

Latest news

  • Compendium of Selected Papers on Measuring the Impacts of Business on Well-Being and Sustainability
    The compendium of selected papers chosen through a Call for Papers issued by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate, together with HEC Paris/SnO Center to develop and support research on Measuring the Impact of Business on Well-being is now available. The papers make the case for greater standardisation and harmonisation of corporate reporting practices, point at the limited disclosure of information on business impacts on the environment and on national communities and the potential for convergence around SDGs and well-being. In addition, they link existing indicators of business impacts on various dimensions of well-being and propose new ones, and provide evidence on the determinants of employees’ job satisfaction. Limits of current measures, in particular in terms of their capacity to stimulate new experiences and improve well-being outcomes for specific groups are also examined. Finally, the papers provide examples of how country-level well-being approaches could be used as a starting point for business reporting, building on New Zealand’s approach to improving government and business interactions through shared concepts of well-being.

    The papers will be presented at the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, taking place in Korea on 27-29 November 2018, sessions 2.c.1 and 2.f.1. For more information, visit

  • Measuring the impact of businesses on people’s well-being and sustainability - Taking stock of existing frameworks and initiatives
    This recent OECD working paper presents an overview of the various kinds of frameworks aimed at measuring or reporting on business’ impact on non-financial outcomes.  It shows that despite the proliferation of information and frameworks to measure these impacts, there is currently no common understanding and practice on how to assess the performance of businesses in different social and environmental areas. Building on the OECD’s work on measuring well-being at the national level, the paper aims at better understanding how businesses can impact people’s well-being and sustainability, applying the “well-being lens” to the reviewed frameworks. This analysis is a first attempt at extending to businesses the approach used by the Organisation to assess and benchmark the well-being performance of countries and sub-national regions, in view of creating a common language and improving the quality, comparability, and coherence of information on the impact of businesses on societal progress and people’s life.

    This research will be presented at the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, taking place in Korea on 27-29 November 2018, at a morning seminar on Wednesday, 28thNovember. For more information, visit:




6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy - Incheon, Korea 27-29 November 2018


The Role of Business in Inclusive Growth and People’s Well-Being – Developing Effective Measurement Tools, 30 June 2017
    Meeting held on the occasion of the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct (29-30 June 2017)

Measuring Business Impacts on People’s Well-being, 23-24 February 2017


Related work


Business for Inclusive Growth
Responsible Business Conduct, Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Social Economy
Social Impact Investment

Other institutions

Healthy Business Coalition
Natural Capital Coalition

BBetter: Data Driven Progress. More at 
Global Reporting Initiative Standards 
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board 
International Integrated Reporting Council 
Better Business, Better World – report of the Business Sustainable Development Council

Should Business Take the Lead in Promoting Wellbeing?

 (blog post, July 2017)


For further information contact: or follow us @OECD_STAT, #Biz4WB


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