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THE SET OF GENERALLY APPLICABLE INDICATORS

WBCSD has worked in the course of the creation of this concept and during the pilot exercise to come up with a set of generally applicable indicators that can be used by all businesses and pr ovides a globally accepted description and measurement method for them. This will help for a common understanding. The following indicators meet the thr ee criteria for general applicability and should therefore be used by all companies. More detailed descriptions of these generally applicable indicators are given in chapter 3.

Product/service value

Quantity of goods/services produced or provided to customers

Net sales

Environmental influence in product/service creation

Energy consumption

Materials consumption

Water consumption

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Ozone depleting substance (ODS) emissions

There are no generally applicable indicators for the environmental influence of product/service use. All indicators in this group are considered to be business specific.

The following additional indicators could become generally applicable if current efforts to develop global agreement on measurement methods are successful:

Additional financial value indicators

Acidification emissions to air

Total waste

WBCSD recommends that all companies collect and report data on the generally applicable indicators. But these indicators alone will not necessarily represent the eco-efficiency performance of a company. They will normally be combined with appropriate business specific indicators and meaningful eco-efficiency ratios to provide a company’s eco-efficiency performance profile.

pilot learning: comparisons using generally applicable indicators

Comparisons between companies are more likely to be valid for generally applicable than for business specific indicators. However, especially when stakeholders try to compare the performance of companies, it is important to recognize business’ inherent diversity, and understand that comparisons are primarily for learning to understand differences and trends and to identify potential for improvements.

the core elements of the appr oach

Comparison are only meaningful when a company’s individual circumstances can be taken into consideration. Comparison between different indicators should normally be done only between like products, services, or operations. Differences observed should be discussed and explained. When data are aggregated across different operations, geographies, or products/services, it becomes more difficult to make meaningful comparisons, even for generally applicable indicators.

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