April 19, 2024

Genevie Aslinger

Safe Havens

A Roadmap to Measuring and Reporting Sustainability Efforts

Introduction

Sustainability is an important part of the digital economy, and it’s one that businesses must address if they want to continue to be competitive. There are many ways that companies can measure their environmental impacts and reduce their impact on the planet while also creating a positive impact on society. But measuring sustainability efforts can be difficult, which is why it’s important to have a roadmap in place before you begin.

Set a goal.

Before you start on a solution, it’s important to define the problem. In other words: what do you want to accomplish?

Defining goals is an important step in any project because without them, it’s hard for others (and yourself) to know what success looks like and how far along your team has come toward achieving it. Goals also help ensure that everyone working on the sustainability initiative shares common objectives and measures success in similar ways.

For example, if one person wants their organization’s water usage per square foot of office space reduced by 10{b863a6bd8bb7bf417a957882dff2e3099fc2d2367da3e445e0ec93769bd9401c} over five years while another person wants more than 50{b863a6bd8bb7bf417a957882dff2e3099fc2d2367da3e445e0ec93769bd9401c} reduction during that same time period–which one do we measure as being successful? Without common benchmarks or metrics defined up front, this could be difficult!

Plan ahead.

Planning is an important part of sustainability reporting. It helps you identify the resources you will need, the milestones that need to be achieved, and the risks and opportunities that may arise during the reporting process.

You should start planning early in your sustainability journey so that both internal and external stakeholders are able to follow along with what’s happening at your organization.

Understand the impact of your goals.

In order to understand the impact of your goals, you need to know what they are.

It’s important to define exactly what you mean by “sustainability” and then break that down into specific objectives. For example, if you want your company to be carbon neutral in three years’ time, that’s a goal–but it’s not enough information for anyone else (or yourself) to know whether or not it will be achieved. What does “carbon neutral” mean? How do we measure emissions and put them into context? How much money does this cost us? Who is responsible for measuring these things at our company? What are the benefits of achieving this goal?

Sustainability goals should be SMART: Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant/Realistic; Timebound

Set and report on tangible metrics.

Tangible metrics are the measurements that are most important to your organization, and they’re often the easiest to track. To determine what your tangible metrics should be, it’s important to look at what business goals you want to achieve. For example, if one of your goals is to boost sales revenue by 10{b863a6bd8bb7bf417a957882dff2e3099fc2d2367da3e445e0ec93769bd9401c}, then tracking revenue growth will be an effective way of measuring progress toward that goal.

Tangible metrics can be used by themselves or as part of a dashboard containing both tangible and intangible data points (more on this later).

Measure carbon emissions, water use and waste generation.

Measure your carbon emissions.

  • What are the sources of your greenhouse gas emissions? What is the total amount of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) generated by your facility and what is its current rate of growth?
  • How can you reduce these emissions, or at least slow their growth rate?

Introduce a sustainability reporting framework.

The first step in implementing a sustainability reporting framework is to develop a comprehensive definition of what you want to measure. This process will help you identify the most important indicators, as well as ensure that all stakeholders are on board with the approach.

Once you’ve established your goals and identified key performance indicators (KPIs), it’s time to choose which tools will be used for data collection. A good place to start is by considering what kind of information would be useful for each stakeholder group–from investors and consumers all the way down through employees who work at every level of your organization. You may need more than one tool depending on who’s using it: For example, if sustainability reports are intended primarily for internal audiences (such as executive leadership), then something like an online survey might suffice; however if they’re meant primarily for external consumption (such as shareholders), then social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook could prove more effective means of communication because they can reach people outside your organization’s walls who aren’t already subscribed via email listservs or newsletters sent directly from company websites

Create a dashboard for tracking progress and communicating results to staff, clients and investors.

Dashboards are a useful way to track progress and communicate results to staff, clients and investors. They should be easy to understand, updated regularly and include the following:

  • A summary of key performance indicators (KPIs) for each sustainability area you are measuring.
  • A progress bar that shows how much work remains in each area before you reach your goal(s). The more detailed this information is, the better it will help you assess where improvements can be made or what areas need more attention from management teams on down through individual teams or projects.

Sustainable business practices can be challenging to implement, but measuring and reporting on progress can help you stay on track

Measuring and reporting on progress toward sustainability is a critical part of any sustainable business practice. It’s also a challenge.

There are many ways to measure sustainability, but the most common approach is to use an organization’s environmental footprint as a proxy for its overall impact on the planet. Greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste production (among other metrics) all contribute to this calculation–but they don’t tell the whole story about how your organization impacts the world around it.

A company’s social responsibility record can be just as important as its environmental performance when it comes time to report how well it’s doing at being sustainable or socially responsible. This includes everything from employee training programs aimed at reducing turnover rates among high school graduates through internships; community outreach initiatives that provide new skillsets or career opportunities in underserved neighborhoods; charitable giving programs focused on helping low-income families buy groceries during times of financial hardship…and so much more!

Conclusion

We hope this guide has been helpful in guiding you toward a more sustainable business. The most important thing is to take action, because without it there’s no way of knowing whether or not your efforts are working!