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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#SustyGoals 6: Setting Standards for Ambitious Carbon Targets – A Dialogue with GHG Protocol's Pankaj Bhatia

“Given that carbon footprinting is predicated on climate science, why doesn't the Greenhouse Gas Protocol include guidance on setting science-based emissions goals and targets?” That's the question I asked Janet Ranganathan, Vice President for Science and Research at the World Resources Institute (and founding director of the GHG Protocol at its outset), at the 2012 Ceres Conference (she's a Ceres boardmember). Her response has unfolded in words and actions over time, first by introducing me to Pankaj Bhatia, the current director of the GHG Protocol, at lunch in Washington, DC in the fall of 2012, where we discussed this gap and potential ways to fill it.

#SustyGoals 5: The Hardcore Business Case for Setting Science-Based Goals – A Dialogue with Andrew Winston

One of the key messages in the upcoming book The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, More Open World is the “need to set goals in companies based on science, not on what we think we can do, not bottom-up,” says author Andrew Winston.

ThriveAbility — Waymaker for the Next Economic Paradigm: A Dialogue with Ralph Thurm

In December, Ralph Thurm delivered a captivating TEDx Talk introducing the notion of ThriveAbility, and its promise in bridging what he calls the “Sustainability Context Gap.” As former COO of the Global Reporting Initiative, to complement deep experience in the corporate world (at Siemens) and consulting realm (at Deloitte), Thurm has witnessed firsthand the limitations of the corporate sustainability movement to achieve the transformations necessary to solve our social and ecological crises.

#SustyGoals 4: Math Not Myth – Energy Points’ Ory Zik on Normalized Energy Target Setting

At SB's third annual #NewMetrics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 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.

What Mandela's Life Story, Another Mixed-Bag UN Conference, & the GNP Critique Offer Your Business

In eight earlier parts of this series, we discussed 18 pitfalls in the sustainable business metrics field. (Find the first 7 articles here and the last one here.)Two recent events — the passing of Nelson Mandela and the COP talks in Warsaw — and the re-occurrence of a familiar critique about GNP accounting give us new insights on the place of metrics in making change, and potential lessons for sustainable business.

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Vitality! How Life Makes the Best of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

“There is no wealth but life.”John RuskinThe magic of lifeThere is much we do not know about how life works to transform the basics of matter and energy into complex materials and massively diverse interdependent systems.Despite many miraculous advances in science and technology, our manufacturing and production is often shamed by the scale, simplicity and systemic safety of life.Arthur C Clarke’s famous quote — “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” — applies just as much to the wondrous technology of life as it does to as yet only imagined technology of a myriad science fictions.

Vertical or Horizontal? Measuring Sustainability & Supply Chain Implications

I’ve been thinking about different approaches to measuring sustainability for some time now (for the purpose of this discussion, I’m concerned mostly with quantifying carbon emissions, though the discussion can be generalized beyond this). I’ve begun to categorize the measurement approaches I see into one of two categories: horizontal vs. vertical.The horizontal approach is organization-centric. It measures total impact across an organization. The vertical approach is product-centric. It looks all the way up and down a product’s supply chain and measures the total impact of the product through its life cycle.

How Green Is Your Coffee? New PCR Standardizes GHG Calculation for Coffee Production

A new Green Coffee Carbon Footprint Product Category Rule (CFP-PCR) was published this week, providing the first CPR for the calculation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from coffee production. The Green Coffee CFP-PCR rule was initiated by SAI Platform’s Coffee Working group members, including illycaffé, Nestlé, Tchibo, Mondelez and Lavazza, and standard-setting bodies 4C, Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified, in collaboration with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).

#SustyGoals 3: GE's Gretchen Hancock on Context-Based Goal-Setting (Part 2)

At SB's third annual #NewMetrics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 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.

#SustyGoals 3: GE's Gretchen Hancock on Context-Based Goal-Setting (Part 1)

At SB's third annual #NewMetrics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 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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The Uncountable and Sustainable Business Metrics: Can There Be a Productive Relationship?

In seven earlier parts of this series, we've discussed 17 pitfalls in the sustainability metrics field. We told sometimes painful stories from several fields outside of business with experience measuring things, such as education and criminal justice, and we discussed easy-to-miss things such as confirmation bias, mistakenly measuring the wrong thing, and failing to acknowledge complexity.

#SustyGoals 2: A Dialogue with Allen White of GISR, the Godfather of Sustainability Context (Part 2)

At SB's third annual #NewMetrics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 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.

3 Myths About SASB and Materiality

Here at SASB, we’ve noticed some confusion about the term "materiality." Such confusion is understandable. “Materiality” has different meanings when used colloquially and when used legally. Within the law, materiality has different meanings within securities law, contract law and the law of evidence. Due to this range of possible definitions, “materiality” has come to resemble “sustainability” as a word that can mean everything at once and thus nothing at all. To address potential confusion, SASB abides by the U.S. securities law definition of the materiality. Our use of the term is therefore legally sound. Read on for an explanation of the most common misperceptions about SASB and materiality.

#SustyGoals 2: A Dialogue with Allen White of GISR, the Godfather of Sustainability Context (Part 1)

At Sustainable Brands' third annual #NewMetrics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 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.

People Perspectives in Sustainable Innovation

The environment has been an impetus for innovation in the last couple of years. Assessing products’ ecological impact helps companies to spot new product opportunities with reduced planet footprint and a sound business case.DSM, the global science-based company, active in health, nutrition and materials, wants to create triple value along the dimensions of People, Planet and Profit, underscoring its mission of ‘Bright Science, Brighter Living.’ DSM wants contribute to a sustainable world in which people can flourish, now and for generations to come.

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Gold-Standard #SustyGoals: A Dialogue with Bob Willard

At the third annual Sustainable Brands #NewMetrics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 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.

Capitals & Commons: A Dialogue with David Bollier, Part Two

David Bollier is among the foremost global thinkers and advocates for the commons. #NewMetrics channel co-curator Bill Baue conducted the following dialogue with Bollier. In part one, Baue and Bollier discussed whether there are intersections between the commons movement and emerging concepts and practices in the corporate sustainability movement. Here, they delve further into the debate.

Capitals & Commons: A Dialogue with David Bollier, Part One

David Bollier is among the foremost global thinkers and advocates for the commons. #NewMetrics channel co-curator Bill Baue recently had the following discussion with Bollier about the potential intersections between the commons movement and emerging concepts and practices in the corporate sustainability movement.

Ambitious Day Two Agenda Educated and Challenged New Metrics Audience on Next-Generation Practices

The New Metrics of Sustainable Business Conference convened some of sustainability’s top minds to examine leading-edge work that is expanding the way business creates, quantifies and manages the value it delivers through the metrics it adopts. This is the second of two posts summing up some of this year’s highlights (see the first one here).

Social Value, Meaningful Brands, Human Capital Valuation Set New Metrics Day One Abuzz

As the definition of value continues to evolve, the demand for business to demonstrate its ability to create value of various forms for all stakeholders — and not just profit for shareholders — is increasing, and the question of how this value is identified, measured and communicated becomes paramount. The New Metrics of Sustainable Business Conference has convened some of sustainability’s top minds to examine leading-edge work that is expanding the way business creates, quantifies and manages the value it delivers through the metrics it adopts.

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