Just as companies are identifying and describing what it means to be sustainable,
they’re encountering the next hurdle – measuring their sustainability efforts. Sustainable Brands held their 3rd annual conference around this topic – The New Metrics of Sustainable Business – this month in Philadelphia, PA. Sustainable brands looks at how leveraging sustainability as a core driver of business can help achieve a sustainable economy.
A truly sustainable organization takes a triple bottom line approach, which means the organization equally values people, the environment and profit. To be successful in this, the organization must be able to measure each component. Metrics used to measure energy and water consumption have been in place for years. However, for organizations with multiple facilities drawing from varying energy grids, it quickly becomes more complicated than simply reading utility bills. Furthermore, calculating a company’s overall carbon footprint includes all energy consumption, even air travel miles. This quickly can tax even the best of Excel spreadsheet gurus.
Measuring environmental impacts is only part of the sustainability equation. Human capital and social impacts must also be factored in, despite not owning real estate on traditional Profit and Loss (P&L) Statements. Figuring out ways in which to calculate these assets and impacts is specifically what this conference addresses.
It was a pleasure to attend and engage with speakers from Interface, Ben & Jerry’s, Walt Disney and Microsoft sharing stories of success and challenges along our respective sustainability journeys.