Related Information

An outstanding primer on the realities of establishing a green business comes from Gil Friend in his book on the subject. Gil captures his 40 years of experience in merging business and the environment into 12 green topic area covering: business, strategy, operations, marketing, design, products and services, procurement, buildings, IT, management, finance, and the future. He covers these aspects through a compendium of 52 truths about fostering a sustainable business. It is a great mind jogger of the many aspects to charting your sustainable business roadmap. As Gil notes on the front cover - "You don’t have to choose between making money and making sense."

 

Dashboards and scorecards are common tools for metrics and reporting progress towards key performance indicators (KPIs). Getting a balanced perspective on what they are and the keys for successful leveraging of these management tools are covered in these two linked articles on understand how to develop useful dashboards and scorecards.

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Performance Metrics and Reporting

What gets measured well, gets done well. Frequently, sustainability performance reporting has not been held to the same scrutiny as financial performance reports. At Sustainametrics we believe well defined and appropriately managed sustainability metrics can yield great insight and focus your organization on high performance projects with tangible savings and revenue enhancements.

 

Sustainametrics will work with you to set up an easy to use, workable set of metrics to measure your sustainability efforts. Metrics should be used as much for learning as for consequences. They should be balanced and measure at the right scale.  We make the reporting measure what matters and we limit the number of metrics needing attention at any one time.  The people using the measures are the ones gathering the input data. We work to use both leading and lagging indicators. We utilized the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for larger organizations and a sub set of GRI that is applicable to smaller entities. as well as other protocols as needed like the Greenhouse Gas protocol and guidelines for green marketing. A shortlist of critical metrics we recommend include:

 

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions broken out by Scope 1, 2 and 3 metrics and business functions, product line, facility location and company.
  • Zero toxics-volume of persistent bio-accumulative toxics purchased or in use.
  • Zero waste-waste diverted from landfill and total waste.
  • Sustainable natural resources; when using natural resources - percentage coming from sustainable sources.
  • Social internal impact-quality of work life, employee retention/satisfaction/loyalty.
  • Social external impact-labor practices, local purchasing, charitable time and money donated.

 

Dashboards and reports

Once we have established the metric reporting and reporting intervals, we generate an online dashboard for management to quickly and easily scan the top 5-10 programs and organization wide performance indicators at any time.  Owners of the programs can update the indicators with an easy email form or uploaded spreadsheet that is automatically aggregated and rolled up into the dashboard reporting, after quality checks. For external reports, we work with you to create a format that is clear, credible and can be easily updated and delivered in print, Web, or presentation form.

 


The complex nature of many interacting business processes often hides important causal relations and the relative impact of positive and negative influencers of the bottom line.  Our dashboards can incorporate system and strategy dynamics models of your business drivers allowing business decisions such as pricing strategy, customer acquisition and retention programs, externalities (e.g., regulatory policy, competition), and staff development and retention to be better understood over future time periods. This facilitates deeper insights of the consequences of today’s business decisions and the influence of existing or potential changes in the external drivers of your industry. The bottom line, is a dashboard tool, that bridges corporate silos by engaging your managers in a holistic discussion of how the various business functions interact to better align conflicting objectives to achieve the overarching goal of continued profitability and growth.