With significant interest around monitoring, collecting, and reporting sustainability metrics, a recent Sustainable Brands article draws attention to some of the shortcomings of conventional sustainability metrics. The article, which is largely based on research coming out of the Center for Sustainable Organizations, suggests that conventional (absolute and relative) metrics only “occasionally, if not randomly correlate with the true sustainability performance of organizations.” The alternative—context-based metrics—take social, economic, and environmental limits and thresholds into account, and can be used to truly understand an organization’s sustainability performance.
There is also an effort underway to get context-based metrics reporting guidance into the Global Reporting Initiative’s fourth generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, G4. If you’ve read these articles, or even if you haven’t, I encourage you to weigh in on the discussion. Which metrics does your company use for sustainability reporting, and which are more useful in driving sustainability?