When it comes to measuring progress in sustainability, selecting the right metrics is a pivotal step. The ability to gather and measure data is central to ensuring that chosen metrics accurately reflect our efforts. But how do we quantify intangible concepts like “social good”? If our chosen metrics don’t facilitate measurable improvements, our endeavors might end up futile.
Intrigued by a recent conversation with a colleague regarding intensity metrics for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the healthcare sector, I began contemplating the validity of commonly used denominators. Drawing on my experience in the sustainability domain, I’ve observed that organizations frequently opt for suboptimal intensity metrics, particularly in terms of the denominators they employ.
Unveiling Intensity Metrics and Denominators
In our full blog post published by Sustainable Brands, “We Need to Choose Better Intensity Metrics; Here’s How,” we delve into the nuances of intensity metrics and how they shape our understanding of sustainability progress. Starting from the premise that quantifying GHG emissions or other forms of waste is a given, our focus shifts to the denominator. We’ll uncover why the denominator, a crucial factor in efficiency metrics, demands careful consideration.
Navigating Efficiency and Purpose
The quest for efficiency drives the selection of intensity metrics. However, it’s crucial to recognize that different stakeholders and organizations perceive efficiency from diverse angles. Whether it’s maximizing profit for for-profit entities or optimizing social good for non-profit organizations, the choice of denominator becomes pivotal. Our blog post delves into the complexities of aligning intensity metrics with the desired outcome and the perspectives of stakeholders.
The Complex Interplay of Factors
As we unravel the intricacies of intensity metrics, we’ll explore the interplay between controllability, motivation, granularity, and unintended consequences. From the potential pitfalls of overly granular metrics to the balance between data availability and the desired outcome, our blog post provides insights into the holistic nature of selecting meaningful intensity metrics.
A Rubric for Effective Intensity Metrics
While our journey might not yield the ultimate sustainability intensity metric, we do offer a guiding rubric. A systematic approach encompassing organizational context, stakeholder interests, denominator types, granularity, and more, aids in navigating the complexity. We’ll take you through this rubric, step by step, providing a structured framework for making informed decisions. Join us as we dive into the heart of sustainability measurement in our full blog post, “We Need to Choose Better Intensity Metrics; Here’s How.” Whether you’re passionate about environmental impact, organizational efficiency, or societal well-being, this exploration promises to enrich your understanding and guide your future sustainability initiatives.