Measuring Sustainability Progress: Essential Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Picture of Elisabeth Kraut

Elisabeth Kraut

She has set herself the goal of supporting companies in the transformation process towards a more sustainable and circular economy.

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, businesses and organizations are striving to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations. However, to ensure that these efforts are effective and moving in the right direction, it’s crucial to measure and track progress using appropriate metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).

The first step in measuring sustainability progress is to define what sustainability means for your organization. This could encompass environmental impact, social responsibility, economic viability, or a combination of these. Once you have a clear understanding of your sustainability goals, you can then identify the metrics and KPIs that align with these objectives.

  1. Environmental Metrics.
    These are often the first type of metrics that come to mind when thinking about sustainability. They include measures such as energy usage, water consumption, waste generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. By tracking these metrics, organizations can identify areas where they can reduce their environmental footprint. For instance, a company might aim to reduce its carbon emissions by a certain percentage each year, and use carbon footprint as a KPI.
  2. Social Metrics. Sustainability isn’t just about the environment; it’s also about people. Social metrics can help organizations assess their impact on their employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate. These might include employee satisfaction scores, diversity and inclusion statistics, community engagement initiatives, and customer feedback on sustainability efforts.
  3. Economic Metrics. Sustainable organizations also need to be economically viable. This means tracking financial performance, but also considering how sustainability initiatives can contribute to long-term economic success. For example, energy efficiency measures can lead to cost savings, while sustainable product innovations can open up new market opportunities.
  4. Supply Chain Metrics. For many businesses, a significant part of their environmental and social impact comes from their supply chain. Metrics in this area might include the sustainability practices of suppliers, the carbon footprint of transportation and logistics, and the lifecycle impacts of products and services.
  5. Governance Metrics. These metrics relate to the way an organization is run and its commitment to sustainability at the highest levels. They might include the presence of a sustainability committee, the integration of sustainability into strategic planning, and transparency in reporting sustainability performance.

Once you’ve identified the right metrics and KPIs for your organization, it’s important to track them consistently and transparently. This might involve regular sustainability reports, dashboards that visualize progress, and third-party audits to verify performance.

Remember, the goal of tracking sustainability is not just to tick a box or create a positive image. It’s about making a real difference to the planet and society. By choosing meaningful metrics and KPIs, and using them to drive action, organizations can contribute to a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, measuring and tracking sustainability progress is a complex but crucial task. It requires a holistic approach that considers environmental, social, economic, supply chain, and governance factors. By identifying the right metrics and KPIs, and tracking them consistently, organizations can ensure they are making real progress towards their sustainability goals.

Start implementing sustainability into your business model

Start implementing sustainability into your business model