Measuring and Tracking Sustainability Metrics for Businesses

Explore the importance of sustainability metrics, the key metrics businesses should consider, and how to implement them. 

In the broader context of the business world, attaining profitability is no longer the exclusive yardstick for a company’s triumph. In today’s corporate arena, there has been a notable pivot towards sustainability, acknowledging its inherent role in nurturing enduring prosperity and adaptability. Sustainability metrics play a pivotal role in this endeavor, allowing businesses to quantify and track their environmental impact.

Types of Sustainability Metrics in Business

In contemporary business, sustainability metrics hold a critical role by offering a means to quantify and assess a company’s influence on the environment, society, and the economy. Furthermore, these metrics aid businesses in pinpointing areas for enhancing their sustainability endeavors, cutting expenses, and boosting operational efficiency.

Environmental Metrics

Carbon footprint 

This metric assesses the aggregate greenhouse gas emissions directly or indirectly attributed to a company, often expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Water footprint 

This metric quantifies the overall volume of fresh water utilized in the production of goods and services within a business.

Plastic footprint

It is a measure of the total amount of plastic it consumes or produces throughout its operations, including the entire life cycle of its products and services.

Waste generation 

This metric measures the complete waste output from a company, encompassing solid, liquid, and gaseous waste.

Energy consumption 

This metric quantifies the quantity of energy consumed by a company in its operations, typically measured in units such as kilowatt-hours or megajoules.

Biodiversity impact 

This involves an evaluation of a company’s influence on local and global biodiversity, including factors such as alterations in land usage or effects on endangered species.

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Social Metrics

Employee contentment and turnover figures 

Gauge the overall contentment and well-being of employees and the frequency of employee departures from the company, respectively.

Gender and inclusivity demographics 

This assesses the diversity within a company’s workforce in relation to gender, race, and other demographic criteria.

Workplace health and safety occurrences 

Keep tabs on the quantity and severity of incidents related to workplace accidents or infringements of health and safety protocols.

Local community involvement 

Evaluate a company’s interactions with nearby communities, encompassing practices like hiring locally and the execution of projects for community development.

Governance Metrics

Diversity in the boardroom 

Evaluates the extent of gender and ethnic diversity among a company’s board of directors.

Reporting on sustainability

Aids in appraising if a company provides reports on its sustainability performance and the depth of these reports.

Adherence to ethical standards 

This assesses a company’s dedication to ethical business conduct, encompassing measures like anti-corruption policies and ethical sourcing standards.

How to Implement Sustainability Metrics

Identification: Incorporating sustainability metrics into the daily operations of your business necessitates a thoughtful approach, commencing with the identification of factors most pertinent to your organization. The relevance of these factors varies from one business to another, contingent upon the industry, size, and specific objectives of the company. 

Selection: The next pivotal step is the selection of corresponding metrics that offer a quantifiable means of assessing performance in these domains. For example, a business concentrating on reducing its carbon footprint might monitor total greenhouse gas emissions or the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources.

Data collection: Subsequently, it becomes imperative to institute data collection protocols. The dependability and precision of sustainability metrics are closely hinged on the quality of data acquired. To ensure effective data collection and management, businesses may need to consider investments in new technologies or systems.

Monitoring & Analyzing: With data collection processes initiated, it is paramount to conduct routine reviews and analyses of this information. These insights play a guiding role in shaping strategic development, shining a spotlight on areas requiring enhancement, and laying the foundation for the establishment of practical yet ambitious sustainability objectives.

Communication: Ultimately, the transparent communication of these metrics and any associated progress holds great importance, both internally and externally. Internally, employees should gain a comprehensive understanding of how their roles contribute to the company’s sustainability aspirations. Externally, stakeholders and customers are increasingly valuing transparency in relation to such initiatives.


Sustainability metrics are indispensable for businesses looking to measure and track their environmental impact. As the urgency to address environmental challenges continues to grow, companies must embrace transparency and accountability. 

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Mousona Poddar

A passionate Content Writer who helps to scale your business by words with excellent research skills.

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