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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Report: Higher CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making, according to a new study, as reported by ThinkProgress.These impacts have been observed at carbon dioxide levels that most Americans are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes and cars.

Microsoft’s Manufacturing Operations Achieve Carbon Neutrality

Microsoft has, as of July 1, 2015, achieved carbon neutrality across its manufacturing operations, according to the company’s 2015 Citizenship Report.The software company’s data centers, software development labs, offices and business air travel have been carbon neutral since July 2012.Microsoft was able to achieve carbon neutrality across its global operations due to its internal carbon fee. The program puts a price on carbon and makes the company’s business divisions responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for the carbon emissions associated with their electricity use and air travel.

Measure Twice, Cut Once: 5 Key Takeaways from the Closing Plenaries at #NewMetrics '15

Sustainability has long been seen as a soft issue — or at least too complex an issue to apply metrics. That is yesterday’s thinking as reaffirmed by all the speakers this week at New Metrics ’15. On the final day, in the second round of plenaries, Biogen, Johnson & Johnson, SASB and TruValue Labs shared their experience and learnings from establishing metrics and setting standards within their respective industries and a few common themes came to the fore.

#NewMetrics '15: Everything You Need to Succeed at Sustainability Investing, Impact Reporting

The final morning’s plenaries at New Metrics ‘15 started with a warm welcome and call from MC Paul Herman of HIP Investor to be energized and ready to focus in on sustainability investing.Herman started with a reminder that 84 percent of the market value of the S&P is intangible and completely missing from the balance sheet. Connecting returns to business efforts around sustainability efforts and performance is a door to finding this value. These absent “knowable but ignored factors” include people as an asset, natural resource efficiency; governance, board diversity and inclusion; and transparency.

UN SDGs Prompting Business Collaboration for a Better World

Back in the ballroom for the last afternoon of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’15, SustainAbility’s research director Chris Guenther hosted a discussion on the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), what they mean for brands, and how they can respond to the risks and opportunities. He was joined by Alyson Genovese, US and Canada head of corporate and stakeholder relations for Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Lindsay Bass, manager of corporate water stewardship for World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

#NewMetrics '15 Panel Dissects Evolving Green Bond Market

The green bond market is growing exponentially, having seen $36 billion issued in 2015 from only $11billion issued in 2013. It remains a fledgling market, yet with continued investor demand and issuers embracing a ‘new green market,’ the future looks bright – according to a panel on the final afternoon at New Metrics ’15.

A Deep Dive Into the Multiple ROI of Well-Run Corporate CSR Programs

As representatives from Walt Disney, Lockheed Martin and Campbell’s Soup attested on Wednesday morning at New Metrics ’15, well-run corporate sustainability programs bring multiple benefits, including increased sales, growing market value, higher employee productivity, and reduced risk exposure, among others.

Better Analysis, Better Choices: A New LCA Tool for a Climate-Challenged World

New Leaf Paper founder Jeff Mendelsohn hosted a workshop on day one of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’15 about an improved Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework that helps users make better decisions by incorporating current climate science impacts, as well as greater transparency and comparability. The framework is called LEO-SCS-002 and is in the process of being added to current LCA standards.

#NewMetrics ’15: How to Accelerate Climate Solutions through Investing

Think talking about investment is always boring? Think again: This had to have been the most highly charged workshop at New Metrics ’15.

#NewMetrics ’15: Aiming for Net Positive? We’re Talking ‘Gross Net Positive’

Clearly, with an exploding population, rapidly accelerating fossil fuel-based consumption and climate catastrophe all looming, the current “net negative” state – whereby we extract more than we return – needs to change. The radically opposite concept – giving more than taking – is ideal.

How to Calculate SROI for Traditionally Overlooked Social Impacts

While quantifying and valuing the true costs and benefits of environmental impacts has matured, doing the same for social impacts remains elusive.

#NewMetrics '15: New Tools for Creating Positive Impact in Your Company's 401(k)

The divestment/investment movement calls on institutional, family, and individual investors to hold themselves accountable for the impacts of financial investments. By moving their money, individuals and institutions can revoke the license of fossil-fuel firms to operate, and doing so accelerates the transition of our global economy away from coal, oil, and gas to sun, wind, and water.

The #BusinessCase for Gender Equality in Leadership

“No country can get ahead if it leaves what amounts to half the population behind.” This quote from the McKinsey report, Economic Benefit of Gender Equality, provided a soft opening to a session focused on the data and facts pointing to the benefits of gender diversity in business.

#NewMetrics '15: WWF, CDP, Trucost Present Tools for Staying Afloat in Water Management

How do you make a problem you can’t see important? This is a big theme across all the breakouts at New Metrics ’15 this week — the importance of finding the accurate and appropriate measurement tools for the challenges that face us.In a session titled “Practical Tools for Evaluating and Reporting Water Use,” the panel discussed the challenge of putting a tangible value to an intangible problem — water management.

First Round of Plenaries at #NewMetrics '15 Tackles ROI, Reporting, Multiple Capitals, Science-Based Goals

The main-stage program of New Metrics ’15 kicked off Wednesday with a simple, yet powerful reminder: This set of conversations is all about upside potential, smarter risk management and long-term resilience. Our focus this week — New Metrics — are metrics that allow business leaders to quantify previously ignored ESG impacts, or capture entirely new forms of business value based on new opportunities along those dimensions.

#NewMetrics '15: Willard, Gowdy Present the Holy Grail of Managing Non-Financial Performance

“As a business community we are making progress, but not enough, and not fast enough.

Sustainability Mythbusters: Is Minimizing Transportation Always Good?

As a science-based method, life cycle analysis (LCA) is an excellent tool to bust the myths that surround sustainability. In this monthly series, we look at some common sustainability ideas to see if they aremyth or truth. In today’s episode: transportation.

An Intro to ThriveAbility: The Next Stage of Development for Sustainability

You all know the classic quip for our field:John: “My marriage is sustainable.”Jane: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…”You get it: The notion of “sustainability,” while vitally necessary, inspires enthusiasm like a hairshirt. What we humans really want to do is thrive! The problem sustainability confronts is that the human pursuit of thriving (as currently enacted) wreaks havoc — we overshoot planetary boundaries and erode social foundations.

ROSI: JetBlue's Unique New Metrics for Assessing the ROI of Sustainability

In a whitepaper released this summer, JetBlue explores how building wider purpose into brands yields competitive advantage. “The Matter with Metrics: Measuring the ROI of Sustainability” presents a four-pronged framework to creating and measuring authentic sustainability programs and consumer messaging.I spoke with Nancy Elder, VP of Communications at JetBlue and co-author of the paper, about how to bake sustainability into business models and reap its multiple financial benefits.

Sierra Nevada Snowpack Reaches 500-Year Low

California’s record-low snowpack this year actually may be far more historic than previously thought — at its lowest in more than 500 years, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, The Los Angeles Times reports.To reconstruct centuries-old snow conditions, researchers analyzed data from snowpack measuring stations in the Sierra Nevada, as well as two tree-ring studies. The first study used measurements from 1,500 living and dead blue oak trees to estimate rainfall back to the year 1400. The second included tree-ring data from a different group of trees to model temperatures for the same period.

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