“We expect that this pilot will allow us to develop clear criteria and comprise a transparent process to assess whether an indicator is relevant and meaningful. We also see in it an opportunity to set the right goals.”
PILOT KICK-OFF MEETING IN ST. LOUIS, APRIL 26/27, 1999
“We involved in the pilot activity not only business decision makers, but also marketing, financial, product
development and production people. We found this very important for the success of our efforts.”
EXPERIENCE SHARING MEETING IN MONTERRE , MEXICO, OCTOBER 26/27, 1999
measurement and reporting in practice
It is clear that gathering and pr esenting eco-efficiency data is currently not as straightforward as with financial information, where there are well- established methodologies and the unifying force of monetary value. In contrast, environmental performance spans a complex mix of parameters which relate to different impacts and for which measurement methodologies are often very new or still not widely agr eed.
This has a number of impor tant practical implications for preparing an eco-efficiency profile of a company or operation.
should also be addressed even though they are not directly controllable.
Even within a company’s operations, there are numerous boundaries that must be defined for the selection and use of indicators. For example, within a given process, there may be multiple
inputs of energy and multiple outputs of emissions from various sub-processes. How one selects which sub-processes to include, and how to allocate measurements across different sub- processes can have a great influence on a specific indicator. These issues have been the focus of Life Cycle Assessment methodologies for a number of years,
SELECTION OF BOUNDARIES
and it is recommended that the ISO 14040 series of international standards be consulted for guidance.
Defining the boundaries of an eco- efficiency analysis is a key challenge for any organization. Principles 7 and 8 relate to this issue. They suggest that the priority should be areas that are under direct control by the company,
but that relevant and meaningful upstream and downstream issues
Boundaries should be selected based on the information needs of users (e.g. management, outside stakeholders). The entity to which the information refers to should be specified in an eco-efficiency or sustainability report.
pilot learning: system boundaries for generally applicable indicators
Pilot companies found that the concept of the “boundary fence” is important for the definition of generally applicable indicators. This is seen clearly in the different approaches e.g. to GHG emissions and electricity use.
On the other hand, purchased electricity is part of the total energy consumption of an entity. Therefore it is included in the energy consumption indicator and eco-efficiency profile of this entity.
Upstream GHG emissions are measured, tracked and reported by the supplier company. For example, emissions released by the supplier of purchased electricity will be reported by the supplying utility and shall not be included in a company’ s own measurement again. The generally applicable indicator description for GHG emissions covers therefore only emissions from direct corporate activities.
Following indicator principle 8, companies may nevertheless wish to track significant impacts from upstream and downstream, such as impacts from purchased electricity generation and product use. They can track these as business specific indicators where they identify them as relevant for their business.