My initial intent here was to do some research and identify just a few top performance indicators that signify how "green" an operation is - four or five at the most.
With some previous experience in supply chain sustainability, I thought I could easily create this short list. What I didn't realize was that my research would lead to a couple of websites where everything environmental would be located and performance indicators would be abundant.
I found many, many resources that have lots of detailed information and a wide range of performance indicators.
One of the key points I learned is that measuring environmental performance requires a look at all different areas of an organization - materials, energy, water, emissions, effluents and waste, products and services and many other topics.
So I decided to identify a Top 10 list of environmental performance indicators.
This was a long way from where my original vision started, but I hope it provides you with some metric areas to think about when reviewing sustainability in your company.
My top 10 sustainability indicators are:
1.Percentage of materials used that are recycled input materials
2.Direct energy consumption by primary energy sources per unit of output
3.Energy saved due to conservation and efficiency improvements
4.Percentage of water recycled and reused
5.Total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight
6.Emissions of ozone-depleting substances by weight
7.Nitric oxide (NO), sulfuric oxide (SO), and other significant air emissions by type and weight
8.Total water discharged by quality and destination
9.Total weight of waste by type and disposal method
10.Percentage of products sold and their packaging materials that are reclaimed by category
If your organization can honestly say that you are measuring performance in each of the areas identified in the Top 10, then you are well ahead of the pack.
I'll also bet you have a thing or two that you could add to this list. If you do, please leave a comment, and we can make this a running list on how to be greener in your operations.