At the risk of stating the obvious, it is more important than ever that everyone understands what is happening with the natural world, and the roles that we can all play in improving things.
The state of the environment impacts everything we do, from simple short-term decisions like how to dress, to the far more pressing decisions about how we can all work together to ensure a sustainable future for humanity.
So what’s happening?
Before we can expect governments, corporations, or individuals to change their behavior, we need to provide clear feedback on how their behavior is affecting the environment. By giving straightforward, actionable assessments, people can adapt sooner and improve future decision making, leading to better environmental outcomes for all. Improved communication around environmental issues empowers people to understand what’s happening, internalize why they should care, and fully grasp how they can help.
At Temboo, we strive to help our customers to play a major role in this virtuous circle of environmental communication.
There’s one big complicating factor though. Before you can communicate clearly about the environment, you need to know what’s going on with it — and that’s still much easier said than done.
The natural world is a complex system composed of many interconnected parts that interact and produce feedback in ways that can be difficult to predict and quantify. This reality produces the wonders of the natural world that we all enjoy, but it doesn’t lend itself to simple measurement and guaranteed outcomes.
In this post we’re going to take a look at how people currently communicate around environmental progress, and show you how Temboo is starting to help our customers promote the environmental impact that their work is making.
“Traditional” Environmental Scorecards
While there’s no standard way to communicate about the environment, people have naturally converged on the idea of using visual scorecards.
Scorecards have long been used across all aspects of the business world to provide a graphical representation of progress over time against a set of specified goals e.g., revenue growth, employee count, units produced, and so on. Since businesses are starting to take responsibility for their environmental footprint, they are naturally adapting the scorecard framework to help them communicate in this context too.
However, simply adopting an existing visual framework is no guarantee of clear communication. In the current era of information overload, it is not enough to broadcast the data alone (which many do simply to tick a regulatory box).
Rather, it is essential to analyze the data and convey the key meaningful messages in a way that is accessible to as many people as possible. Through their bold and engaging visual design, the best scorecards facilitate this goal by using established data visualization techniques to summarize complex topics in a simple and inclusive manner. Big numbers, icons, and judicious use of color, underpinned by a purposeful message, are the hallmarks of a quality scorecard.
“Yes, but what do those numbers actually mean?”
“How does this impact my life?”
“Why should I care?”
These are the questions that we should be answering for people when we communicate about environmental initiatives. At Temboo, we’re starting to help our customers create Impact Scorecards — going beyond mere environmental metrics and getting to the heart of what really matters.
Temboo Impact Scorecards
Temboo’s no-code platform for environmental engagement helps people measure what’s happening in the air, soil, and water around them. However, the real contribution of our product is to reveal the practical implications of that environmental sensor data, and to then communicate this information to their community and beyond so that everyone involved can do better. Whether it’s fostering a happier, more engaged community, upgrading gray to green infrastructure, or driving policy change, we’re less focused on the number of data points captured through our platform, and more focused on the real-world outcomes we can help deliver.
Impact scorecards are designed to crystalize important environmental findings into the clearest, simplest terms, and to make them shareable with different types of stakeholders, from employees, funders, and partners, to communities, students, and governments.
The best impact scorecards are holistic, and not just centered around the data that Temboo helps people collect and interpret. Even though Temboo is a very tech-centric product, the tech is only a means to an end, and that end is helping our customers make a meaningful impact through their environmental work. Consequently, the types of environmental impacts that interest us are whatever our customers and their communities care about. That is, the scorecard format does not dictate the message. A given customer could be concerned the amount of impact made in STEM education, quantification of environmental phenomena that lead to community improvements, a deeper understanding of environmental phenomena that prove the worth of green infrastructure, and much, much more.
That’s why you’ll see us mix relevant external data (often taken from work that our customers are doing outside of the Temboo ecosystem) with insights drawn from Temboo-powered environmental sensors. Along the way we like to highlight other interesting, notable, or fun facts—all of which combine to make the scorecards engaging, digestible, memorable, and most importantly, actionable.
Our approach to scorecard creation is a combination of data science, environmental domain expertise, and an understanding of what really matters to our customers and their communities.
As we start out on this journey of communicating environmental findings, we’ll continue to iterate on how we help customers convey the impact they are making in the real world so that they can unlock as much value from using Temboo as possible. This is better for us, better for our customers, and ultimately better for the planet.
If you’re interested in improving how you communicate your environmental impact, please get in touch!