WBCSD proposes a framework containing three levels of organization for eco-efficiency information: categories, aspects and indicators. This is consistent with the terminology used in the ISO 14000 series, and in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
Categories are broad areas of environmental influence or business value. Each has a number of aspects, which are general types of information related to a specific category. Aspects describe what is to be measur ed. Indicators are the specific measures of an individual aspect that can be used to track and demonstrate performance. A given aspect may have several indicators as demonstrated in detail in chapter 3.
A full list of categories, aspects and indicators is shown in appendix 1. The 3 categories identified in this report for eco-efficiency, and their
main related aspects are:
volume / mass
Environmental influence in product/service creation
natural resources consumption
Environmental influence in product /service use
audiences, including investors, insurers, consumers, and other interest groups.
emissions during use/disposal
Eco-efficiency brings together the two eco dimensions of economy and ecology to relate product or service value to environmental influence. It can be represented as:
THE NEED FOR INDICATORS
Product or service value
Setting targets and monitoring performance with indicators are accepted management tools used throughout business. This includes environmental management and measurement of eco- efficiency, and is necessary to measure
corporate progress toward a more sustainable future.
Progress in eco-efficiency can be achieved by providing more value per unit of environmental influence or unit of resource consumed.
Companies may choose to measure their eco-efficiency performance for a number of reasons. These include tracking and documenting performance and progress, identification and prioritization of opportunities for improvement, and identifying cost
savings and other benefits related to improving eco-efficiency. It may even be that a company wants to demonstrate why in certain areas improvement is limited or will not be possible to the degree expected by certain stakeholders.
Eco-efficiency indicators may also help managers take decisions on a pr oduct or business portfolio. They can provide managers with the information on how to make a business portfolio more eco- efficient or more sustainable overall.
There are numerous ways in which eco- efficiency can be calculated using this basic equation. Both product or service value and environmental influence include many different indicators which cannot be merged into one single number. Companies will need to choose eco-efficiency ratios that best serve their process for communication and decision making. Specific calculations will depend upon the needs of individual decision makers. For example, a plant manager may wish to focus on the number of products shipped per kilojoule of energy consumed during manufacturing. A financial analyst may instead focus on the economic value of products sold per kilojoule.
Value and environmental influence can also be measured for different entities, such as production lines, manufacturing
Monitoring and reporting eco-efficiency publicly is also a way to communicate a key element of the corporation’s progress on sustainable development to external
sites, or entire corporations, as well as for single products, market segments or
entire economies. In the same way, eco- efficiency ratios can be calculated and