Performance measurement is an essential component of every sustainability program. Without quantitative indicators of progress, management cannot assure that their objectives are being addressed, nor can they communicate the company's accomplishments effectively to extrnal stakeholders.
Four fundamental principles can help companies address the challenges associated with measuring and reporting sustainability. These are:
Consider the dual perspectives of resource consumption and value creation, i.e., do more with less.
Include metrics that address the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability.
Systematically consider each stage in the product life cycle.
Develop both leading and lagging indicators.
We have assisted dozens of clients in a variety of industries to establish performance measurement frameworks that support their environmental and sustainability objectives, including:
Eliminating usage of toxic materials
Increasing material utilization ratios
Improving the ecosystem quality on managed properties
Reducing the costs of waste management activities
Developing inherently clean and safe technologies
Increasing employee satisfaction and well-being
Supporting reduction of poverty in developing countries
References are available upon request.
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Joseph Fiksel and his team from Battelle won the Best Practice award for their pragmatic paper on Sustainability Performance Measurement at the 1999 Greening of Industry Conference.
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