The Millennium Development Goals Scan is a tool designed for companies to estimate the extent to which they positively contribute to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Companies must register to be able to use the MDG Scan. The MDG Scan measures each company’s MDG impact by entering key data in a secured environment. Once the company approves the publication of their results, they will be visible for everyone.

The MDG Scan was designed for the following reasons:
The offer companies insight into the impact of their business activities on development/the MDGs in developing countries
To raise awareness for the MDGs among companies
To demonstrate how companies can achieve a greater and lasting positive impact on development.
The MDG Scan is a practical tool for companies. Without spending much time or effort, companies can gain insight into their contributions to each of the eight MDGs. Once the necessary data has been inserted each company can view their results globally, per country of per sector / industry. In addition, a company can evaluate its performance to its peers in a sector. Each company can download a personalized report . This report can be used internally as well as for communicating, defining and implementing CSR policies.

For the past two years NCDO Business in Development , in conjunction with Sustainalytics , has worked on creating this scan. The idea to develop an online self assessment MDG scan evolved from two earlier MDG Frameworks that NCDO carried out in 2005 & 2006. The main feedback from the 2006 framework, in which 6 companies were compared, was the lack of insight into real impact on the MDGs. This inspired us to develop this online self assessment MDG Scan.

What does the MDG Scan measure?
The MDG Scan is based on the premise that companies can contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. The effect of a company on a developing country’s national economy is often a multiple of the money directly spent in that country. The MDG Scan estimates the MDG footprints of a company by measuring the effect of the following factors on a country’s economy: value added; employment creation; products & services ; and community investments.

1. Value added
By processing raw materials and part-finished items towards final products, value is added. Even after the product is finished, value is added by packaging, distributing and retailing. Value added is a direct contributor to a country’s GDP. The MDG Scan estimates a company’s value added through its operations in developing countries. Next, the MDG Scan estimates the effects of this value added on poverty reduction (MDG1) and on the reduction of child mortality (MDG4).

2. Employment
Besides money, employment is a significant driver of economic growth. Companies employ people and, in turn, contribute to household incomes. In addition to the directly employed workforce, companies further create indirect jobs in the value chain. The MDG Scan estimates how many jobs are created by a company, including indirect jobs, and gives an estimation of the amount of poor people (below $1 poverty line) that benefit from these jobs.

3. Products and Services
The commercial products and services marketed by a company can also contribute to poverty reduction. Regular products or services that fulfill the needs of poor consumers, when offered at a good quality and price, can improve the living standards of the poor (e.g. affordable bus transportation). Other specific products or services (medicine, drinking water facilities etc.) directly impact the Millennium Development Goals. The MDG-Scan investigates whether companies offer such specific MDG-related products and services and providing an estimation of the number of people in developing countries that benefit from these products or services for every MDG.

4. Community Investments
Companies can also contribute to poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs through community investment: philanthropic project & donations or initiatives for employees. The MDG Scan investigates whether companies offer such specific MDG-related community investment, providing an estimation of the number of poeple in developing countries that benefit from these activities for each MDG.
Please refer to For Companies for more detailed information.

Estimations and the interpretation of results
Although the MDG Scan measeres the contribution of a company to the MDGs quantitatively, results should not be expected to be exact measurements. The MDG Scan is developed as a simple model, dealing with a very complex economic reality. Important simplifications of reality are therefore inherent to/in the MDG Scan. Moreover, as all companies are analysed in the same way, the comparison of results is meaningful: possible inaccuracies affect eachcompany’s results equally.