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.

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EPA Power Plant Carbon Rules Could Drastically Reduce Harmful Air Pollution

Setting strong standards for climate-changing carbon emissions from power plants would also result in reductions in more than 750,000 tons of other air pollutants that can make people sick; damage forests, crops, and lakes; and harm fish and wildlife, according to a new study by scientists at Syracuse University and Harvard.

Urban Emissions: Autodesk's Emma Stewart on Science-Based GHG Goals for Cities (#SustyGoals 10)

Autodesk helped pioneer the corporate practice of setting science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals with its open-source methodology, C-FACT, or Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilizing Targets. The effectiveness of this approach was validated late last year when Autodesk topped the ranking in the Climate Counts report Assessing Corporate Emissions Performance Through the Lens of Climate Science.

Big, Science-Based PivotGoals: A Dialogue with Jeff Gowdy (#SustyGoals 9)

In conjunction with the publication of his new book, The Big Pivot, Andrew Winston partnered with sustainability consultant and Vanderbilt University business professor Jeff Gowdy to create the PivotGoals website, a database tracking thousands of corporate sustainability goals and targets.

Footprints and Handprints: Harper on Intel's New Science-Based Climate Policy (Part 2)

In this latest installment of the #SustyGoals series, Bill Baue speaks with Stephen Harper, Global Director of Environment and Energy Policy at Intel, about the tech giant’s new science-based climate policy, released last month. In part one of this two-part interview, Harper explained the impetus for the policy and the mechanics of making it work. Here, Harper examines the micro and macro elements of the policy and what it means for Intel’s products.

Footprints and Handprints: Stephen Harper on Intel's New Science-Based Climate Policy (Part 1)

At SB's third annual #NewMetrics Conference last September, the need for next-generation sustainability goals — which measure progress toward real-world goal-lines such as carbon budgets, water tables, and living wages — emerged as a key theme.

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Integration Is Key – SAP’s Thomas Odenwald on Natural Capital Accounting (Part Two)

The prospects of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) are capturing the attention of the sustainability community at large, and with good reason. In part one of our two-part interview with Thomas Odenwald, SAP's Senior Vice President of Sustainability, he explained the three angles from which the company is approaching NCA; here, he offers steps for implementation.Dimitar Vlahov: This all sounds both promising and practical to me. What would you recommend the Sustainable Brands community to focus on in terms of specific next steps?

Let’s Make It More Relevant and Systemic: SAP’s Thomas Odenwald on Natural Capital Accounting (Part One)

The prospects of Natural Capital Accounting are capturing the attention of the sustainability community at large, and with good reason. Keen to drill down into the topic with key players in the SB community, we sat down with Thomas Odenwald, SAP's Senior Vice President of Sustainability, to get his perspective on the implications and applications of this crucial movement. Dimitar Vlahov: There is a lot of buzz these days in sustainability circles about Natural Capital Valuation and Accounting. To what extent are you following this conversation and what do you think about emerging case studies?

Measuring the Social Footprint of Products — Why Bother?

For over 20 years, PRé has been the metrics solutions partner for first-movers in a variety of industries aiming to create business value from sustainable products. Perhaps best known for their pioneering SimaPRO LCA software, PRé has recently shifted its focus to examine the social impacts of products. We spoke with Renée Morin, president of PRé North America, to find out more about the company’s new direction and what it has learned so far.

Ceres Conference and Report Ask: Is Corporate Sustainability Gaining Ground or Losing Pace?

“We're screwed,” agreed authors Andrew Winston and Paul Gilding in the opening plenary of last week's Ceres Conference.“But we've got huge opportunities to solve mega-challenges profitably,” Winston added.

PRé and SupplyShift Join Forces to Tackle Challenges of LCA, Supply Chain Sustainability

Sustainability software and consulting firm PRé has announced a partnership with supply chain software company SupplyShift to tackle the challenges inherent in the twin fields of life cycle assessment (LCA) and supply chain sustainability, and to use the strengths of each field to support the other. These challenges involve (1) dealing with the lack of primary supplier data in LCA inventories, (2) streamlining complex data collection and management issues in supply chain efforts, (3) circumventing inefficient duplicate data requests, and (4) facilitating the use of sustainable sourcing to reduce the environmental impacts LCA identifies.

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Social Impact Measurement: A Key Business Management Tool

As companies obtain greater understanding of the social and environmental implications of their operations and products, the need to implement measurement methodologies to understand the impact of these business activities becomes more evident. Social impact measurement aids companies in identifying opportunities and risks associated with a project. It is a valuable ally to highlight the positive aspects of a given process or product. It is an even more useful tool to understand the important negative effects that must be managed and minimized.

RILA Seeking Industry Input on New Retail Energy Management Maturity Matrix

Last week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) officially launched its Retail Energy Management Program by releasing the Retail Energy Management Maturity Matrix (REMMM), a new tool designed to help retailers optimize their energy management programs.

Environmental Profit & Loss Accounting: Can We Make It Work?

In November 2013 the first World Forum on Natural Capital took place in Scotland, signaling that the concept of natural capital accounting (NCA) as pioneered through emerging tools such as the Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) account is starting to pick up pace. Even more recent is the establishment of the Natural Capital Business Hub in February, showcasing a broad range of promising natural capital case studies that have yielded a positive return on investment.

SAI Launches First Farmer Self-Assessment for Sustainable Agriculture

PepsiCo, Unilever, Heineken and more than 50 other members of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform have developed the world’s first industry-aligned Farmer Self-Assessment (FSA) of sustainable agriculture practices, launched earlier this month at SAI Platform’s General Assembly in Seville, Spain.The FSA is designed for farmers to assess their sustainable agriculture practices in a way that is universally recognized by the food and drink industry, SAI says. The industry-aligned set of assessment criteria for farmers meets the sustainable sourcing needs of many companies. Any farmer can complete the assessment online and it can be used for most crop types, farm sizes and locations around the world.

Wanted: A Single, Unifying Metric for Quantifying Source Energy

Integrated reporting is the core of corporate sustainability. It is critical to organizations communicating their value creation over time and acts as a benchmark for future progress. Global brands including Walmart and Coca-Cola spend millions to collect vast amounts of data from their immense supply chains to report on their sustainability initiatives.

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New Study Illustrates Higher Natural Capital Value of Agrofrestry vs. Monoculture

Global natural capital consulting firm Trucost has released the results of a study comparing the environmental value of monoculture and agroforestry for producing palm oil and soybeans.

Business Relevance of Natural Capital, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Assessing the Current State of Play

As natural capital, biodiversity and ecosystem services are terms that are increasingly bandied about, a few questions are increasingly being whispered by corporate colleagues that are worth answering:

Whether or Not We're 'Flourishing' Is a True Measure of Sustainability

John R. Ehrenfeld, author of Flourishing: A Frank Conversation About Sustainability, contends that the world is more unsustainable now than in 1972 in spite of the sustainability programs of firms worldwide.In his recent post, Ehrenfeld argues that sustainability strategies and programs fail to address the fundamental causes of unsustainability, because most economies and companies still pursue growth beyond the capacity of our planet to support it.

#SustyGoals 7: How Biogen Uses Context-Based Sustainability to Set Environmental Goals

In January 2014 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Corporate Knights unveiled its annual Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies rating, with biotechnology company Biogen Idec placing second. What's behind this strong showing?

It Just Got Easier for Companies to Invest in Nature

Nature is valuable. But figuring out how valuable has been challenging. By some measures, the services that nature provides business and society — clean water, food and metals, natural defense from storms and floods, and much more — are worth many trillions of dollars. But that number is not helpful to companies trying to assess how dependent they are on natural resources, or how to value them as business inputs.

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