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FRAMEWORK

The report describes a flexible framework for identifying and measuring eco-efficiency indicators and reporting eco-efficiency performance. It consists of:

a limited set of generally applicable indicators, which WBCSD believes are valid for virtually all businesses

guidelines for the selection of business specific indicators relevant at company or sector level

guidance for implementation

recommendations for how to communicate eco-efficiency information to internal and external audiences

“ The eco-efficiency indicators framework is easy to understand and its use and application make good business sense to us. Keeping the framework flexible and avoiding a rigid reporting format wherever possible are key points for its acceptance and practicability.”

EXPERIENCE SHARING MEETING IN TOKYO, SEPTEMBER 28, 1999

setting the scene

ECO-EFFICIENCY IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABILITY

WBCSD defines eco-efficiency as follows: “Eco-efficiency is achieved by the delivery of competitively-priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity throughout the life-cycle to a level at least in line with the ear th’s estimated carrying capacity.”

businesses to improve eco-efficiency performance is the promise of achieving greater value with lower adverse environmental consequences.

While eco-efficiency is a helpful tool for businesses and a valuable policy concept for governments driving toward sustainability, it must be acknowledged

that other steps are also necessary to achieve this long-term goal, which embraces economic, environmental and social aims.

Eco-efficiency is a key concept which can help companies, individuals, governments or other organizations become more sustainable. It brings together the essential ingredients – economic and ecological progress – which are necessary for economic prosperity to increase with more efficient use of resources and lower emissions of substances that can have adverse environmental consequences.

The concept calls for business to achieve more value from lower inputs of materials and energy and with reduced emissions. Companies need to apply creativity and innovation. For example,

n e w t e c h n o l o g i e s , i m p r o v e d s u p p l y

chain practices and better products can all boost eco-efficiency. The incentive for

Business exists to satisfy human needs and to be rewarded with profits for doing so. Responsible businesses also aim to improve the quality of life as part of a drive to become mor e sustainable. But this process within business alone is unlikely to pr event the growth of total resource use and environmental impact for the entire economy. Sustainability will only be achieved by business working together with governments and external stakeholders such as suppliers, customers and NGOs. For example it is important for governments to formulate economic and industrial policies which encourage eco-efficiency in business as well as reduce energy and resource use throughout the economy.

seven elements for eco-efficiency improvement

1

Reduced material intensity

2

Reduced energy intensity

3

Reduced dispersion of

toxic substances

4

Enhanced recyclability

5

Maximized use of renewables

6

Extended product life

7

Increased service intensity

Eco-efficiency calls for business to achieve more value from lower inputs of materials and energy and with reduced emissions. It applies throughout a business, to marketing and product development just as much as to manufacturing or distribution. The range of possibilities outlined here demonstrates the pervasive nature of eco-efficiency:

7

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