National Academies Press: OpenBook

Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities (1999)

Chapter: A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale

« Previous: 12 A Framework for Action
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

APPENDIXES

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

Appendix A
Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale

Recent years have seen a proliferation in both the amount and type of environmental reporting done by industry. A 1997 report by KPMG summarizes reporting practices by over 900 firms from 13 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries (Figures A-1, A-2). Seventy-one percent of companies surveyed made some mention of the environment in their annual report, up from 58 percent in 1993. The proportion of companies producing separate environmental reports rose from 15 percent in 1993 to 24 percent (220) in 1997 (Figure A-3). Forty-one percent of U.S. companies surveyed reported releasing a separate environmental report (Figure A-4).

The topics covered by industry environmental reports were generally weighted toward the traditional concerns of emissions and compliance (Figure A-5). However, some movement toward ecoefficiency was evident in terms of the emphasis some firms gave to natural resource conservation. In a further indication of more visionary behavior, the concept of sustainable development was mentioned in some reports. Increased attention given to such issues as waste management, energy conservation, supplier performance, and product design when discussing future goals indicates that a number of companies have begun to move beyond compliance as the sole motivation for improving environmental performance (Figure A-6). While all of these topics were mentioned in company reports, quantifiable measures of performance in these areas are still somewhat sparse.

Of those companies producing separate environmental reports, 87 percent (192) disclosed quantitative environmental performance data. Disclosures of most such data were weighted primarily toward emissions, but attention was also

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

Figure A-1

Total number of annual reports and number of reports that mention the environment, by industry sector. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Figure A-2

Total number of annual reports and number of reports that mention the environment, by country. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

Figure A-3

Percent of companies producing separate environmental reports, by industry sector. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Figure A-4

Percent of companies producing separate environmental reports, by country. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

Figure A-5

Content of company environmental reports that address specific environmental topics. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Figure A-6

Percent of environmental reports that discuss future plans and targets, by topic. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

given to assessing environmental costs and conservation efforts (Figure A-7). The disclosure of quantitative information by international respondents in the KPMG survey can be compared with that of U.S. firms in a smaller study (Figure A-8). The attention given to environmental expenditures in both surveys demonstrates a growing awareness of these costs and a move away from the common practice of simply lumping them in with overhead expenses. Such awareness may indicate the first steps toward more comprehensive assessment of both the costs and benefits associated with environmental programs and capital investments. It is also interesting to note that almost half (42 percent) of U.S. companies surveyed by KPMG produced environmental reports that included quantitative

Figure A-7

Percent of annual reports that disclose quantitative environmental data, by type. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Figure A-8

Percent of U.S. firms that disclose environmental performance data, by type of data. SOURCE: White and Zinkl (1996).

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

targets and deadlines with regard to improving environmental performance (Figure A-9). It is apparent that some companies are approaching the use of environmental metrics with vigor, particularly in areas important to tracking internal performance. However, relatively few measures of ecosystem impacts or the sustainability of industrial activities were noted in either survey.

Environmental management issues were mentioned in a significant percentage of environmental reports (Figure A-10). Although often lacking quantifiable data, many of the reports contained information on such matters as management responsibility for the environment and corporate environmental management systems. It is perhaps a sign of progress that a significant fraction (43 percent) of those companies producing environmental reports included details of internal and third-party environmental audits. While those doing so represented only about 10 percent of total survey respondents, the release of such information in years past would have been unlikely.

The number of issues and the amount of quantifiable data being reported are increasing, and while a number of different approaches to standardizing environmental metrics and reporting have been proposed, little consensus has emerged.

Figure A-9

Percent of company environmental reports that include quantitative targets, deadlines, and reporting on targets, by country. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Figure A-10

Percent of environmental reports that contain environmental management system (EMS) information, by type. SOURCE: KPMG (1997).

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×

There are many complexities associated with establishing a code of internal metrics for corporate use, and they vary greatly by industry. A review of present practices reveals that industry has broad opportunities to improve on the current slate of environmental performance metrics.

References

KPMG. 1997. International Survey of Environmental Reporting. Lund, Sweden: KPMG.


White, A., and D. Zinkl. 1996. Corporate Environmental Performance Indicators: A Benchmark Survey of Business Decision Makers. Boston: Tellus Institute.

Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 217
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 218
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 219
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 220
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 221
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 222
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 223
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 224
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 225
Suggested Citation:"A Current Reporting and Use of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Global Scale." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 1999. Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9458.
×
Page 226
Next: B Current Reporting of Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics by U.S. Semiconductor Companies »
Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $75.00 Buy Ebook | $59.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics is a corporate-focused analysis that brings clarity and practicality to the complex issues of environmental metrics in industry. The book examines the metrics implications to businesses as their responsibilities expand beyond the factory gate--upstream to suppliers and downstream to products and services. It examines implications that arise from greater demand for comparability of metrics among businesses by the investment community and environmental interest groups. The controversy over what sustainable development means for businesses is also addressed.

Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics identifies the most useful metrics based on case studies from four industries--automotive, chemical, electronics, and pulp and paper--and includes specific corporate examples. It contains goals and recommendations for public and private sector players interested in encouraging the broader use of metrics to improve industrial environmental performance and those interested in addressing the tough issues of prioritization, weighting of metrics for meaningful comparability, and the longer term metrics needs presented by sustainable development.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!