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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.

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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.

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.

#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.

New Study Shows 51 of Top 100 Companies Emitting Unsustainable Levels of CO2

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. Today, Climate Counts and the Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) released a collaborative report, Assessing Corporate Emissions Performance through the Lens of Climate Science, which revealed that, surprisingly, almost half of the Top 100 companies analyzed rated sustainably in the study, with Autodesk, Unilever and Eli Lilly earning the three top spots in the rating.Of the 49 companies that scored sustainably, 25 of those exhibited revenue growth even as their emissions declined, proving that decoupling of growth and emissions is possible.

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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