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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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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A Truer Measure of Economic Well-Being? Replacing GDP with GPI, Part Two

The chorus decrying the shortcomings of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic well-being has been rising, crescendoing recently with the release of the report by Nobel Laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen commissioned by then French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Here in the US, states such as Maryland and Vermont are beginning to adopt an alternative to GDP: the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).

A Truer Measure of Economic Well-Being? Replacing GDP with GPI, Part One

The chorus decrying the shortcomings of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic well-being has been rising, crescendoing recently with the release of the report by Nobel Laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen commissioned by then French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Here in the US, states such as Maryland and Vermont are beginning to adopt an alternative to GDP: the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).

Putting Sustainability Data into Context

Many companies have been publicly reporting on sustainability metrics for more than 20 years, and others are just getting started. As the practice is maturing and becoming more commonplace, stakeholders are beginning to ask, “Are these metrics really measuring sustainability?”For example, most companies do report on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use, but what they’re not doing is putting these metrics in context. In other words, does a company’s goals and performance meet the need to decrease emissions by 80–100% by 2050* in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change? And how does its water use measure up to availability in water-scarce, water-stressed and water-sufficient areas?

Inspiring the Supply Chain: Sprint's New Supplier Booklet

As the sustainability world places increased focus on supply chain issues, there’s no doubt that any corporation on an authentic CSR journey needs to carefully examine the impacts of its entire supply chain. In fact, according to the United Nations Global Compact’s recently published Global Corporate Sustainability Report, supply chain management is the single greatest barrier to large companies advancing to the next level of sustainability performance.

Lack of Reliable Metrics Impeding Sustainable Business Growth, Study Says

Less than a third (32 percent) of CEOs believe the global economy is on track to meet the demands of a growing population, while two-thirds (67 percent) report that the private sector is not making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges, according to a recent survey by the United Nations Global Compact (GC) and Accenture. Still only 38 percent say they currently are able to quantify the business value of sustainability.

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