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New Metrics

The new and evolving metrics that are helping expand the way businesses create, quantify, manage and report their impacts, and the value they deliver.

SAP: Increased Employee Engagement Helping Bottom Line

German software company SAP’s operating profit improves EUR35 million ($38 million) to EUR45 million ($49 million) when its employee engagement index rises one percentage point, according to the company’s 2014 integrated report.The financial impact of a higher employee engagement index results, among other things, from the fact that dedicated employees are more innovative and absent from work fewer days. Likewise, because they are more loyal to the company, there is less missed revenue and less recruiting and training costs traditionally associated with higher turnover rates.

GRI Unveils ‘Fast Track’ For Sustainability Reports

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is introducing a new feature called ‘fast track’, which will give reporting organizations the option to accelerate the review of their draft reports.GRI is fast approaching the busiest time of year, with reporting deadlines drawing closer. During these peak times, GRI says its Report Services Team processes a large volume of draft reports that have been submitted for either the Content Index, Materiality Disclosures, or Application Level Services. The Term and Conditions of these services lay out a specific amount of time within which GRI will review the draft report and issue findings to the reporting organization.

What Makes a Board Fit for the Future?

Any regular follower of SB knows that most companies must transform their business models if they are to start helping - rather than hindering - society's transition to a sustainable future; and this year will only see expectations grow, with the launch of the SDGs.

Multicapitalism and the Two Faces of Integrated Reporting

If ever there was an auspicious moment in performance measurement and reporting, this is surely it. Multicapitalism has arrived! Listen to how author Jane Gleeson-White puts it in her terrific new book, Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet? (2015):

Putting the Cart Before the Horse? Five Anecdotes About Sustainable Business Metrics

In 11 earlier parts of this series, Claire Sommer and I developed 22 pitfalls in the field of sustainable business metrics, based on the experiences of many mostly non-business fields. (Find them here.)What to make of five anecdotes from the author’s attendance at over a dozen sustainable business metrics conferences, and leading an interagency indicators initiative of New Jersey State Government in 2000-2002 that don’t fit the numbers narrative.

The Leaders and Laggards of Sustainability Goals

Imagine that you arrive to take your first flying lesson. The instructing pilot asks, “How much fuel do you guess we should put in the tank?” You think: “Guess? Come again? Shouldn’t we calculate the distance between where we are and where we are going, and then determine the fuel needed (and add in some extra fuel for peace of mind)?”Yes. And the same is true for sustainability goals.

Industry Partners Publish First Sustainability Standard for Household Cooking Appliances

Whirlpool has announced that nine of its cooking appliances are among the industry’s first certified under the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) Sustainability Standard for Cooking Products — the first voluntary sustainability standard for household cooking products, developed by AHAM, UL Environment and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group.

Industry Leaders Weigh In on Methodology for Measuring Products' Social Impacts

In September, a Roundtable of companies comprised of Ahold, AkzoNobel, BASF, BMW Group, Goodyear, L’Oréal, Marks & Spencer, Philips, RB, Steelcase, DSM and PRé Sustainability published a handbook on how to conduct a Product Social Impact Assessment.

All Capitals Are Unequal, But Some Are More Unequal Than Others

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”Warren BuffettMoving beyond one-dimensional capitalism“All capitals are unequal, but some are more unequal than others.”This was a thought that popped into my mind after a number of real-life and online conversations about the concept of multiple capitals. This notion proposes that there is a range of sources of value (capitals) that give rise to economic and social benefits, but that current accounting and economic approaches recognise only one — financial capital.

Backcasting: A Roadmap to Transformational Change

As we have entered a new year, I’d like to take a closer look at the concept of backcasting for coming up with strategies that marry ‘transformational change’ (as sustainability practitioners like to call those meaningful sustainability outcomes that leap beyond ‘making things less bad’) with viability and desirability.Backcasting? Am I casting my eyes on what lies behind us? No, in fact backcasting looks far ahead in order to create bridges towards desirable outcomes for the future.

Measuring Sustainability, Part III: How a Sustainability Index Can Optimize Decision-Making

In the first two parts of this series, we explored the motivations behind creating a sustainability index, and the steps to take when creating an index. In this final part of the series, we will explore how organizations can deploy an index to make consistent decisions to support a sustainability strategy.After the index has been designed and created, the next task is to deploy it into the decisions-making structure. Let’s explore some examples of how other organizations have deployed this approach to make more sustainable products.

Tetra Pak Launches Environmental Benchmarking Service for Food & Beverage Companies

Tetra Pak has launched a new environmental benchmarking service to help food and beverage companies assess the environmental performance of their production operations, and to identify opportunities for improvement.The service provides an audit of the entire plant, including both the processing and packaging lines, assessing performance in areas such as water efficiency, waste water treatment, energy efficiency, product yield and waste, and carbon footprint. Based on this audit, Tetra Pak will then provide specific recommendations on opportunities for improvement, helping customers not only to reduce their environmental impact, but also to lower cost.

Report from JetBlue, Ocean Foundation Finds Direct Correlation Between Healthy Ecosystems, Increased Revenue

JetBlue has released a first-of-its-kind report correlating the long-term health of its bottom line with the long-term health of ecosystems, particularly the Caribbean.

PURELL® Hand Sanitizer Producer Hits Sustainability Goals 2 Years Early

Hand hygiene and healthy skin company GOJO Industries, maker of the PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, has exceeded its 2015 sustainability goals two years early, according to the company’s new sustainability report.The company reduced water usage by 40 percent, solid waste generated by 36 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent.The new report emphasizes the company's view of sustainability as an opportunity to create value and includes examples illustrating its success in creating social, environmental and economic value for its business and its stakeholders.

Measuring Sustainability, Part II: Constructing a Sustainability Index

In Part I of this series, we explored the basics of why a company would use a sustainability index to help guide decision-making. Here, we go into further depth on the steps to create such an index.Step 1: Determining what’s importantThe first step in defining a sustainability index is to determine what factors need to be considered for inclusion in the system. What is important to your company, your customers and your stakeholders?

Sustainability Metrics Assessments Helping Mission-Driven Startups Measure Their Impacts

PRé has always believed in and worked for a sustainable future and we believe insight into the environmental and social impacts of products is a crucial step towards this future. Our approach is one of collaboration, working with partners across the world and training companies to use sustainability metrics independently. So when looking for a way to give back, it made sense to us to use our years of experience with Life Cycle Assessment to help the next generation of mission-driven businesses.

Consumers Crave 'Green' Travel Options, But Is There Economic Value Behind Sustainable Tourism?

You may not have noticed, but on December 13, 2012, the travel industry reached a critical milestone. It was on that date, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), that the one-billionth international tourist arrived at her destination ready to explore the local sites.

Creating Shared Value Requires Shared Valuation

The key question for every business model is whether it is viable and sustainable over time. We measure that through a conventional cost-benefit analysis, and we do that even in what are considered sustainable business models. Is that the way to go, and does it reflect all values that are created? Is it at all possible to develop a sustainable business when not all implicit values ​​are valued? The answer, of course, is no, but … how can we do it differently?Assess your business model on more than just money

Changing the Way Non-Financial Performance Is Measured, and Thus Managed, in Pursuit of Future-Fit Businesses

Think of a company, any company. Got one? OK. Now ask yourself this: Is the company truly sustainable, in everything it does and sells? If not, then how must the company change before it is?

Field to Market, The Sustainability Consortium Partnering to Harmonize Metrics for Sustainable Agriculture

Across the entire agricultural supply chain — from the farm to the store shelf — the challenge of meeting demand for a rapidly growing population, while conserving natural resources, necessitates a harmonized, science-based approach to measure and communicate sustainability in agriculture. On Friday, Field to Market®: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture announced a partnership with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) aimed at achieving this goal.