Selecting business specific indicators which are relevant and meaningful for the particular site, business unit or corporation under scope was a central element of the pilot application pr ogram described in more detail in chapter 4.
systems used the pilot for a r eview of their existing procedures, for adding new elements or for widening the ar ea of application from one geographical region to their global corporation.
Pilot companies which were just beginning to implement a data collection system had to go through this process from scratch. Others who had well established environmental data collection
In order to select business specific indicators for a particular business unit one pilot company used – besides relevance to the business – r esonance within the unit, simplicity and availability of data as additional selection criteria.
the core elements of the appr oach
It must be stressed that these distinctions do not imply that “generally applicable” indicators are more important than “business specific” indicators. This will depend upon the nature of an individual business. The distinction is drawn merely to identify a small set of indicators which all businesses should be able to use, out of the wider collection which are available and meaningful to an individual organization.
Some indicators are universally applicable to all businesses but many will not be. This may be due to fundamental differences between the value and environmental aspects of a company’s different operations and products, a lack of well-established methods for measuring some parameters, or different priorities for specific environmental issues throughout the world. Some indicators may also measure different parameters for different businesses (e.g. air emissions from a refinery are different than those from a power plant). Finally, some of the indicators simply are not significant issues for particular businesses.
pilot learning: how to select business specific indicators
The WBCSD defines two types of indicators to help companies keep their reporting system flexible. This allows more efficient decision-making internally and fulfills stakeholder requirements. This section explains the concept behind this approach, provides the necessary guidance for companies, and
lists the generally applicable indicators that are valid across all businesses.
WBCSD has chosen the term “generally applicable” to describe the indicators which can be used by virtually all businesses, although they
may not be of equal value or importance for all companies. For each of these there must be general international agreement on the following:
GENERALLY APPLICABLE AND BUSINESS SPECIFIC INDICATORS
the indicator is related to a global environmental concern or business value
it is relevant and meaningful to virtually all businesses
GUIDANCE ON SELECTING BUSINESS SPECIFIC INDICATORS
WBCSD recommends that ISO 14031, concerned with “Environmental Performance Evaluation” be used to guide the selection of relevant business specific indicators. This standard describes an internal management process and tools designed to pr ovide management with reliable and verifiable information. It outlines general procedures for selecting environmental indicators, collecting and analyzing
data, assessing and reporting the resulting information. The most relevant type of indicator for the purpose of eco-
methods for measurement are established and definitions accepted globally
All other indicators which do not meet these three criteria have been termed “business specific”, meaning that they are more likely to be individually defined from one business to another. There is also probably a diversity of approaches with respect to how they are measured and defined, and their relevance and meaningfulness varies from one business to another.
The WBCSD eco-efficiency indicators framework provides a menu of indicators that cover the broad spectrum of environmental aspects related to the production and use of products and services. The framework also contains options for measuring the “value” of products or services. Combined together, these can be used to describe a company’s eco-efficiency. All the indicators are not necessarily applicable to all companies. So each company must evaluate its own business to determine what “business specific” indicators are applicable and useful to management and external stakeholders, in addition to the generally applicable indicators.