Measuring up - moving beyond environmental metrics

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Courtesy of Richard MacLean & Associates, LLC

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, there is a whole lot of flattery going on when it comes to environmental metrics.  Companies typically focus on three areas: regulatory requirements, reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and industry benchmarking. That is fine for showcasing performance to external stakeholders, but this approach represents neither a metrics strategy nor a competitive business approach.  Indeed, it amazes me how much effort is devoted to finding the 'right' metric set, as defined by what others are doing, requiring, or recommending. Benchmarking is important, of course, and executives love to see where they stand relative to the competition. But this approach to metrics strategy may not give much insight into long-term competitive positioning. 
So what metrics are strategic and how do you identify and measure them? To answer these questions, we must explore the basics of metrics and how environmental professionals can add strategic value.

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