How to Measure & Report on Sustainability Efforts

Introduction

Sustainability reporting and measurement is no longer just a “nice to have” for companies who are interested in going green. With more and more consumers—and investors—expecting businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, it’s important that companies measure their environmental impacts and set goals for improving them over time. The journey toward becoming a more sustainable business can be challenging; measuring your progress is one way of ensuring you’re moving in the right direction. In this blog post, we’ll show you how easy it is to measure your sustainability efforts with some simple data analysis techniques!

Set up a Sustainable Business Practices Dashboard.

A dashboard is a visual representation of your business’s performance, and it can help you see how well your sustainability efforts are working. It also gives you an opportunity to track progress over time.

A dashboard can include information like:

  • Employee engagement scores (e.g., NPS)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions reductions or other environmental metrics (e.g., LEED score)
  • Waste diversion rates

Identify your key sustainability-related metrics.

Now that you have a general idea of what metrics to track, it’s time to identify the key sustainability-related metrics that are important for your organization.

This can be done by first identifying your goals and then looking at how those goals are tied back into sustainability efforts. For example: if your goal is to reduce energy usage by 20{b863a6bd8bb7bf417a957882dff2e3099fc2d2367da3e445e0ec93769bd9401c}, then tracking energy consumption will help show whether or not this goal was met.

Some common metrics include:

  • Energy use per square foot (measured in kilowatt hours)
  • Water consumption per square foot (measured in gallons)
  • Waste generation rates (measured in pounds/kg)

Collect data on your key metrics.

  • Collect data on your key metrics.
  • What is a key metric? It’s a measurement that shows how well you’re doing in meeting your sustainability goals, like reducing waste or increasing recycling rates.
  • You can collect this information by tracking progress through regular audits or surveys, or by conducting an annual analysis of data from multiple sources (e.g., purchasing records and employee feedback). This step may sound complicated, but if you’ve already done some research into what makes sense for your organization’s needs and resources, then it should be fairly straightforward to get started!

Analyze the data you’ve collected and make adjustments to improve your performance.

Analyze the data you’ve collected and make adjustments to improve your performance.

  • Use the information you’ve gathered to identify areas for improvement.
  • Use your findings to set goals for future actions and initiatives, or adjust them if they’re unrealistic or unattainable.
  • Make sure that everyone on your team understands how they can contribute to sustainability efforts in their particular roles at work, school or home–and then hold each other accountable!

Share your findings with stakeholders, both internal and external.

Once you’ve completed the assessment, it’s time to share your findings with stakeholders. This could be a report that you send internally or externally, depending on the needs of your organization.

  • Share the report with internal stakeholders (employees, partners and suppliers).
  • Share the report with external stakeholders (e.g., customers).

Having a reporting process in place can be really beneficial when you’re trying to measure the impact of sustainability initiatives.

Having a reporting process in place can be really beneficial when you’re trying to measure the impact of sustainability initiatives. It enables you to easily track and compare data over time, which is useful when identifying trends and determining how effective your efforts have been.

Having this information readily available will help make sense of what might otherwise be difficult-to-quantify results, like improved employee morale or reduced costs associated with waste management.

Conclusion

Measurement is the first step toward improvement. By creating a sustainable business practices dashboard, you can track your performance over time and identify areas where you might need to make changes in order to reach your goals. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to measure and report on sustainability efforts, check out our blog post on reporting metrics!

Luigi Minkins

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