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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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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Sustainability Innovations Could Generate $156 Billion for UK Firms

UK businesses could secure £100 billion pounds (nearly $156 billion USD) in annual productivity gains generated by innovations designed to address environmental and social challenges, according to a new report by Accenture, Business in the Community and Marks & Spencer.Fortune Favors the Brave argues that companies must go beyond conventional corporate and social responsibility programs and place sustainability at the heart of business strategies and operations to unlock the full commercial potential and sustainability benefits.

Avila Develops New Metrics for Sustainable Event Management

When Avila Government Services, Inc. (Avila) decided they wanted to improve the sustainability of their meeting/event planning efforts, they turned to the latest event sustainability guidance. However, as many planners have discovered, the roughly 400 pages of long-awaited guidance can be overwhelming and confusing. The three sets of guidelines fall short of providing the necessary metrics for conducting and evaluating the event planning process. They lack specific policies, goals, measurable objectives and scoring systems for sustainable meeting planning. Instead, they require the organization and its planners to develop their own procedures and metrics for the process.

Intrinsic Value Exchange: Using Market Forces to Help Heal the Planet

Our economy assigns values to just about everything except for the things that matter most. As far as the current economy is concerned, a tree holds value only if it is cut down, an animal only if it is slaughtered and a person only if they contribute to the GDP. When we are given the price of an item, many values and certain costs are often excluded, which results in the destruction of natural resources, decline in human health and an economy that is less productive than it could be.

Does Your Sustainability Pitch Make Enough Sense to Your CFO?

Many experts have observed in recent months that innovating for sustainability seems to be attracting mainstream attention, particularly at Fortune 500 companies and among forward-looking social entrepreneurs. The growth of the Sustainable Brands community certainly supports that claim, with an audience of over 2,800 boasting more than $4 trillion in combined annual revenue represented at SB’13 earlier this summer. At the same time, however, in the majority of cases sustainability is still not part of firms' core strategies. And we can’t expect to be on the right long-term trajectory if all we do is encourage employees to switch to double-sided printing.

Total Energy Resource Productivity: Math Not Myth

Open the news in the US and you hear two conflicting messages: “We are on our way to becoming energy independent using fossil fuel” and “The biggest challenge we face is getting off fossil fuel.” The inconvenient truth is that we don’t know how to quantify our dependence on fossil fuel nor do we have a metric for Energy Productivity and Environmental Performance.

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