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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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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Reality Check: Climate Counts Launches World's First Science-Based Carbon Rating

On Tuesday at the New Metrics of Sustainable Business Conference, Climate Counts will present initial findings of the first-ever science-based rating of corporate carbon emissions. The study, conducted by Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) Executive Director Mark McElroy and Bill Baue, applies CSO's Context-Based Carbon Metric, which compares company carbon emissions to science-based targets.

Redefining Value: The New Metrics of Sustainable Business - The SB Community Weighs In, Part Three

We believe that nothing can drive faster organizational response to a changing business environment – or facilitate realignment between corporate functions or within value networks — than a shift in the metrics used to track success.

New Animated Video Asks: 'How Much Is (Your Mother) Earth Worth?'

Joss Tantram, partner at UK sustainability strategy firm Terrafiniti, LLP, has conceived and written a short animation on the challenges of pricing nature — comparing it to getting a good price for selling your mother. “How Much is Your Mother Earth Worth?” takes a fresh look at one of the most complex issues of our time.“The idea of pricing the value we get from ecosystems, literally pricing the Earth, has been with us for a couple of decades,” said Tantram.

Redefining Value: The New Metrics of Sustainable Business - The SB Community Weighs In, Part Two

We believe that nothing can drive faster organizational response to a changing business environment – or facilitate realignment between corporate functions or within value networks — than a shift in the metrics used to track success.

Redefining Value: The New Metrics of Sustainable Business - The SB Community Weighs In, Part One

We believe that nothing can drive faster organizational response to a changing business environment – or facilitate realignment between corporate functions or within value networks – than a shift in the metrics used to track success.

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Move Over Eco-Efficiency, Here Comes Eco-Immunity - Part Two

In part one, Mark McElroy discussed the idea behind, and the need for, eco-immunity. Here, he sheds light on how to achieve it.

The Evolution of Social Impact Metrics: Where Math and Computer Science Meet the Humanities

The usefulness of advanced data analytics — Big Data, small data and everything in between — is converging with the needs of corporate sustainability, and this is creating new opportunities for companies pursuing ambitious sustainability goals.

Move Over Eco-Efficiency, Here Comes Eco-Immunity - Part One

For most of what passes for mainstream business today, it is still lamentably the case that profits trump sustainability, and thereby put natural resources and human well-being at risk.

Ecosystem Services & Corporate Sustainability: Integrating the Value of Forests Into Business with REDD+

Ecosystem services — or the flows of natural capital from the environment into human economies and societies – have traditionally been thought of and treated as ‘free,’ resulting in their mismanagement and degradation. Emerging research is beginning to change this paradigm by quantifying the values of ecosystem service flows — and the implications are becoming especially relevant for corporations.

13 New Types of Data Analysis Every Business Should Consider

As many stakeholders — including investors, employees and consumers — begin to re-evaluate their perception of value, it is becoming imperative for companies of all industries to credibly measure, analyze and interpret the entire range of costs and benefits for which they are responsible. Below are 13 fairly (as of yet) uncommon types of data analysis that help businesses do just that. You have nothing to lose and much to gain by learning how to:

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Entropic Overhead: Measuring the Circular Economy

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.— Charles BabbageDo you break the timer when your boiled egg is cooked?Our economy does; it is like a broken hourglass. We collect together valuable materials, apply energy and labour, put them into products that have yet more added design and brand value and spew them out into the world before starting again (mostly), from scratch.This of course would all be fine if scarcity was not a problem: If the materials, energy and inputs we rely upon for industrial production were either eternally abundant or safe to distribute and use. However in our current industrial models this is simply not the case.

Back to the Future: The Early Days of New Metrics (or How to Speak Your CFO's Language)

Many innovators want to express the uniqueness of their pioneering breakthroughs - a new organic product, a sustainability initiative, a green-building retrofit. But these new, exciting ideas are likely emphasizing benefits that are not easily heard. "New" and "exciting" are two words that typically attract attention to gain new customers and market share, like your latest mobile device or electric car.But CFOs, CEOs and Boards are skeptical of new and exciting; they like "old" and "boring" — like delivering on budget, on time and on the expectations of promises to Wall Street analysts and investors.

How Do We 'Hardwire' Sustainability Into Business?

While there are myriad perspectives on sustainability and corporate responsibility, each with its own unique value, I often find myself focusing on sustainability’s operational aspects: What can we do to increase the pace at which belief in sustainability translates into concrete actions that benefit the environment, society and business? To me*, a key question is how we get more done, how we “hardwire” sustainability into the way businesses operate.

The True Cost of 'Cheap'

All businesses stay alive by being price competitive. After all, if there are no customers to pay for your product, you can’t make sales and without sales there are no revenues. In an ideal world, a business sets its pricing based on the costs it incurs to produce but other businesses compete by offering different pricing (some do choose strategies based on servicing or other value-added activities).

Big Data: The Ultimate Sustainability Job Aid at U.S. Postal Service

Advancement in big data and analytical technologies has opened up many new opportunities to support sustainability advancement in large, complex organizations. The high volume of performance data from facilities, buildings, supply chains, operations and logistics subsystems can be gathered to trace the impact of sustainability initiatives at a very granular level. This information can be rolled up into a series of “green dashboards” allowing managers and employees to track costs savings and monitor performance enhancements across the organization.

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