Measuring the impact of Sustainability Victoria

30th October 2018 · Yuan Chou

In late 2017, ACIL Allen was commissioned by Sustainability Victoria (SV) to undertake an independent impact assessment of its programs and initiatives to objectively quantify the value SV provides to the Victorian community. SV is a statutory authority established by the Victorian Government to facilitate and promote environmental sustainability in the use of resources.

The report assessed economic, social and environmental benefits of SV’s programs. A representative sample of SV’s initiatives were assessed, representing 17 out of 62 projects undertaken since 2011.

Initiatives were divided into three project tiers:

  • Tier 1 › Direct support and investment (projects that are high profile, high cost and central to SV goals, with high quality data available; 5 projects assessed)
  • Tier 2 › Engagement and campaigns (projects on social or behavioural change, with a strong focus on stakeholder and community engagement, where impact is not easily monetised; 6 projects assessed)
  • Tier 3 › Working with others (projects where overall impact and value are less direct, including projects shared with other jurisdictions or largely managed by industry, where SV is leading, coordinating or planning; 6 projects assessed).

For the five assessed Tier 1 projects, ACIL Allen found that SV delivered a benefit-cost ratio of 2.49, generating $248.4 million in total present value of benefits to Victoria from an investment of $28.6 million in the five projects. 

While not quantified, when all program benefits are taken into consideration, the total benefits from all of SV’s programs are likely to significantly exceed the organisation’s total expenditure since 2011.

Other key findings are:

  • SV has demonstrated a strong strategic focus that maximises its impact by developing a program of work that uses a range of sustainability initiatives which work together to integrate outcomes and build viable long-term industries as a foundation for a sustainable economy.
  • SV is a powerful advocate and facilitator of positive and sustained social change. SV has changed social behaviours and cultural attitudes toward waste and energy across a range of programs. SV’s strong focus on collaboration and consultation is improving industry and community engagement in environmental issues across Victoria.
  • SV is a pioneer in social impact investment, with many experiences, successes and lessons to share with others. SV is at the forefront of the next wave of social impact investment, with expertise in facilitating this form of change, having generated employment and provided training in current programs.
  • SV is an innovator and leader on environmental matters in Victoria as well as other jurisdictions, particularly around co-regulatory approaches. By bringing stakeholders together, co-designing projects to achieve agreed outcomes, establishing common data or knowledge systems and agreeing on how they will measure and reward performance, SV could expand its leadership role and impact in the Victorian community.
  • The projects assessed collectively addressed tangible needs and gaps, as well as market failures. They have delivered a rich variety of outputs, including educational resources, awards and materials efficiency best practice guides and resources, and improved the capacity of stakeholders to deliver on aligned environmental and social goals.

ACIL Allen’s assessment and its findings will be used to improve SV’s approach to project design effectiveness, and the monitoring and evaluation of its ongoing work.