Your Firm's Impacts, Measured and Managed in Four Steps

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Humans caused $6.6 trillion in environmental damage in 2008. NBS came across this and other important statistics during an in-depth synthesis of data from 180 studies on environmental impacts.

Our Executive Report, Measuring and Valuing Environmental Impacts: An Introductory Guide, is an extension of the Network for Business Sustainability's Systematic Review of the growing body of research on quantifying sustainability activities. Inspired by ideas from the NBS Leadership Council, the review presents the most comprehensive compilation of high-quality knowledge on this topic to date.

Navigate Decision-Making on Environmental Impacts

The Executive Report is designed to help senior executives and decision-makers new to sustainability navigate the strategic decision-making process for managing environmental impacts. It presents a detailed, step-by-step guide for implementation, and suggests tools and additional resources for measuring and valuing environmental impacts.

The report also presents case studies on how Canadian firms have experienced success in setting sustainability goals and using environmental metrics to inform corporate strategy.

Motivation to Measure

There are numerous reasons for monitoring how your business affects the natural environment and vice versa. Five key reasons for tracking—and improving—your business’ impacts are:

  • Reduce costs. Research shows that firms managing their environmental risks reduce their weighted average cost of capital.
  • Respond to investor demands. Investors are aware that the firms that manage their environmental impacts are best positioned to benefit from strategic opportunities.
  • Facilitate approvals and mitigate risk. Negative environmental impacts can lead to delayed project financing—at significant cost to the organization.
  • Hire the best employees. 75 per cent of U.S. workforce entrants see social responsibility and environmental commitment as important criteria in selecting employers.
  • Meet customer demand for "green." An environmental marketing study found a 79 per cent increase in green consumer products from 2009 to 2010.

Four Steps to Accurate Benchmarking

Based on these five reasons, the Executive Report presents a four-step guide to assessing, measuring, and interpreting corporate environmental impacts.

Step 1: Define success. What goals do you want to achieve? How can your long-term goals be broken into targets?

Step 2: Decide what to measureWhat operational activities have significant impacts on the environment?

Step 3: Determine how to measure and value impacts. Navigate the tools available, like Life Cycle Analysis or Environmental Footprinting.

Step 4: Incorporate measures. Tie environmental results and measurements into strategEvaluate, Communicate, Improveic decision-making.

Armed with environmental measures and values, you can evaluate your progress or assess your present position, communicate with or report to key stakeholders, and revise your strategy or tactics to better reach your goals.

Who Should Read the Report

Senior executives and decision-makers seeking to benchmark and track environmental progress in their firm should begin with this research-based report.

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