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1.2 UNDERSTANDING INDICATORS

The project states next evaluated the issues associated with using indicators to measure performance.

      • 1.2.1

        What is an environmental performance indicator?

        • An environmental indicator is a chosen characteristic that describes environmental performance.

        • A select set of indicators will be used to measure the environmental performance of a group(s).

      • 1.2.2

        How are indicators used to measure group environmental performance?

        • When combined with statistical measurement methods, the use of indicators can provide an understanding of the performance of a group at a point in time. Changes in performance can also be measured over time.

      • 1.2.3

        What kinds of indicators may we select?

        • Activity measures, e.g., was the necessary equipment installed.

        • Outcome measures, e.g., how much pollution was created.

        • Regulatory measures. e.g., are requirements being met.

        • Beyond compliance measures, e.g., measures being followed even if they are not

required.

      • 1.2.4

        What are some of the key choices and considerations?

        • Indicators should reflect the “most important” environmental performance practices (requirements) for the group. Although “higher value” indicators that relate to potential or actual emissions, discharges or releases may be preferable, they may not be feasible in some cases.

  • Who should pick the indicators: Agency staff and mangers? The agency and representatives of the regulated group? Should the general public be asked?

  • Should the indicators be limited to regulatory requirements or should beyond compliance practices be included?

  • How many indicators should there be for the group?

  • Is data available for the indicators and what is the quality of the data?

  • Will new data be required?

The States Common Measures Project Final Report

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