Sustainability is defined and achieved in many ways. For two decades, standards and certifications have been the backbone of the discussion. There is also an increasing body of evidence, both pro and con, about how standards and certifications impact communities across the globe in key factors such as productivity or climate change.
Yet, the only evidence-based certainty that we have is that outcomes vary by place and conditions.The lesson: a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. To get results we’ll need more than just checklists, standards, or projects. We need management tools that adapt to the context and inform managers and communities about the levels of sustainability and the month to month progress to determine how these are changing.
The bottom line? Performance.
And just as in any successful business, there is a need for integrated Performance Measurement systems. This means measuring what matters – the key elements that impact sustainability in real-time – and doing it with efficiency, accuracy, and modest cost.
That said, most tools measure the success of their sustainability efforts after the fact. Yet we know that when managers understand outcomes in real time, they can correct their course quickly and are much more likely to achieve the results they want. This is critical if we want to scale up what is working.
Happily, leading global firms and the public sector are starting to take this dynamic approach. They see that it enables a comprehensive view of what is working and what is scalable, and provides the necessary tools for continuous improvement.
This is the very spirit that animates our work.