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Strengthening our Impact. Earthworm’s commitment to measuring change
Strengthening our Impact. Earthworm’s commitment to measuring change
News Jun 25, 2024

Strengthening our Impact. Earthworm’s commitment to measuring change. 

5 min read

At Earthworm Foundation, we aim to catalyse systemic change and drive meaningful transformation by addressing pressing social and environmental challenges. Measuring and evaluating our contribution to this change is not easy, but it is essential.

A New Era of Impact Measurement

As we celebrate our 25th year of service, we are delighted to announce a significant evolution in defining and measuring our impacts. This improved approach focuses on consistency, standardisation, and data-driven evidence, allowing us to compare advances across years and regions. It also ensures that the rich, descriptive stories of impact from the field get better integrated into a comprehensive measurement system, ensuring a holistic view of our progress.

Our rollout has begun in large-scale landscape projects in Africa and Asia and is being implemented in all new projects and field activities. By adopting digital tools for data collection, we can measure more accurately and focus on gathering verifiable data directly from the field. This approach enhances our measurements' accuracy and strengthens our commitment to transparency, reliability, and better evidence-based decision-making.

Impact-Driven DNA

Earthworm is an impact-driven organisation. Our mission is to create positive impacts on people and nature; we need to measure these impacts effectively to ensure we make a real difference.

“Accountability frameworks are vital; reputable companies and foundations use them to set internal targets, align with industry best practices, and define how their actions contribute to common goals. Engaging in continuous improvement is part of Earthworm’s DNA,” shares Dorit Kemter, Earthworm’s Global Lead on Impact Strategy.

First, accountability builds trust with our stakeholders. We want our supporters to access clear and comprehensive information, ensuring their confidence that their support is channelled effectively and responsibly. Transparency and accountability also help prevent potential abuses of trust, demonstrating our commitment to working towards the targets we set with all our stakeholders.

Second, accountability aids in achieving our goals and making a real difference. With the right impact information around our programs and projects, we can make informed decisions about our direction or when to course correct.

“Often we can fall into the trap of under or over-reporting; data in any form provides interesting insights – but establishing a framework, common language, and definitions, where all stakeholders are aligned, can help us make a real difference to the communities we serve,” shares Siew Hui Liew, Earthworm’s Asia Lead on Impact Strategy.

Why Our Impact Measurement Matters

Our new approach is designed to help Earthworm’s partners report on their progress against their sustainability commitments. We have consolidated our impact measurements with established frameworks to ensure coherence and comprehensive reporting.

“This consolidation not only streamlines the reporting process for our partners but also ensures that our impact data aligns with industry standards. This makes it easier for partners to meet their own reporting requirements and demonstrate their contributions to broader sustainability goals,” shares Marianne Martinet, Programmes Director at Earthworm Foundation.

This new approach is a significant step forward in our commitment to accountability, transparency, and continuous improvement. Here’s why we developed this approach:

  • Demonstrate Tangible Outcomes: This ensures that our work effectively addresses pressing challenges faced by farmers, communities, and ecosystems.
  • Support Evidence-Based Decision-Making: Structured data collection and analysis guide our strategies.
  • Consistent Tracking and Evaluation: Establishes methods for tracking progress.
  • Coherent Communication: This enables us to clearly communicate our impact story, ensuring stakeholders understand the full scope and scale of our efforts.

Focus on People and Nature

Our work with supply chains aims to impact centres around two main pillars positively: People and Nature. This impact measurement method helps us comprehensively evaluate our work with partners in these areas.

1. People: We strive to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Our focus areas:

  • Community and Indigenous Rights: We track the number of local community and Indigenous members whose rights to self-determination have been improved.
  • Farmers’ Resilience: We monitor the resilience of farmers and their households, enhancing their ability to withstand and adapt to challenges.
  • Workers’ Welfare: We assess improvements in the work and living conditions of workers and their families, including children.

2. Nature: Our commitment to environmental stewardship is reflected in our efforts to protect and restore ecosystems.

Our focus areas:

  • Thriving Ecosystems: Protecting and restoring key ecosystems is critical. We track the hectares of ecosystems actively protected from degradation and those under restoration.
  • Farmland: Sustainable farming practices are vital for a healthier planet. We monitor the hectares of farmland regenerated through such practices.

We also work closely with supply chain actors as well as local communities and governments to enable and support these regenerative practices, ensuring that all stakeholders actively contribute to and benefit from a healthier ecosystem.

Enhancing Decision-Making and Innovation

Each region we work in faces unique challenges, often requiring tailored solutions. However, our innovative approaches to addressing these complexities can often be adapted and scaled to other regions. For instance, our Healthy Forest Landscapes (HFL) approach, Living Soils initiative, and the Starling satellite monitoring solution (co-developed with Airbus) have proven effective and can be customised to suit regional needs.

Our impact measurement supports such innovations by providing robust evidence that informs our decision-making processes, enabling our teams to focus on what matters to enact tangible change for the communities, farmers, and the environment. This evidence-based approach allows us to develop and test solutions that can be adapted and scaled to meet diverse needs.

Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Our 25-year journey at Earthworm is one of continuous learning and improvement.

"We aim to track our successes and failures as much as we can. The feedback and lessons we have gathered over the years have helped us grow as an organisation, refine our strategies, avoid unintended negative outcomes, and enhance our positive impact," Marianne Martinet explains.

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