fbpx

March 16

Environmental KPIs: How to Track Your Progress Towards Sustainable Procurement

0  comments

TRANSFORM INTO A GREEN HERO IN JUST 5 MINUTES EACH DAY!

Receive your daily dose of eco-inspiration with the Green Connection newsletter. Discover the newest trends, technologies, and practical tools, all while being effortlessly entertained for free.

By clicking the button, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, including the use of cookies and the sending of communications.

Organizations are under increasing pressure to reduce their environmental footprint and operate more sustainably as the world becomes more aware of the negative impact of human activities on the environment. One way to accomplish this is by implementing key environmental performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and track the organization’s progress toward sustainability goals. 

In this article, we will discuss the importance of measuring and understanding some of the most common environmental KPIs, such as carbon footprint, energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, air and water pollution levels, biodiversity loss, sustainable procurement, greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy usage, and recycling rates, to make informed decisions about reducing an organization’s environmental impact. 

Understanding and implementing these KPIs is critical in creating a sustainable future, whether you are an individual or part of an organization. So join us as we delve deeper into the subject and discover how you can take steps to become more environmentally conscious.

Carbon Footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) emitted into the atmosphere due to an organization’s activities is called its carbon footprint.

Among these activities are:

Energy consumption: Using fossil fuels (such as coal, natural gas, and oil) to generate electricity and heat buildings contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Transportation: The use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels (such as cars, trucks, and airplanes) results in greenhouse gas emissions.

Industrial processes: Many industrial processes, such as cement and steel production, emit greenhouse gases.

Agriculture: Livestock production and certain agricultural practices (such as using nitrogen-based fertilizers) can also result in greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste: Landfills are a significant source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.

A carbon footprint is typically measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), allowing for the inclusion of other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide. To calculate a carbon footprint, a company will typically track its emissions from the above sources and convert them to CO2e using standard conversion factors.

An organization’s carbon footprint can be used to identify areas where emissions can be reduced and to set targets for reducing emissions over time. It can also be used to compare different organizations’ environmental performance and assess their overall environmental impact.

Energy consumption

An organization’s energy consumption is usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), million British thermal units (MMBtu), or gigajoule/megajoule (GJ/MJ).

It is frequently divided by source, such as:

Electricity: The amount of electricity a business consumes, measured by reading the meter on an electrical grid connection.

Natural gas consumption: The amount of natural gas consumed by an organization, as measured by reading the meter on a natural gas connection.

Transportation fuel: The amount of fuel consumed by an organization’s vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and airplanes.

Measuring energy consumption can assist an organization in understanding how much energy is being used and where it is being used. In addition, this data can be used to identify areas for energy efficiency improvements and to set goals for reducing energy consumption over time.

Breaking down energy consumption by source allows an organization to understand which energy sources contribute the most to their overall energy consumption and target their efficiency efforts accordingly.

For example, suppose an organization discovers that electricity consumption accounts for a significant portion of its overall energy consumption. It may reduce electricity consumption by upgrading energy-efficient equipment, implementing lighting retrofits, or installing on-site renewable energy generation.

Overall, measuring energy consumption is essential to understanding an organization’s energy use, lowering its environmental impact, and saving money.

Want A Sustainable Project?

Talk to UGREEN and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

Water usage

Water usage measures how much water an organization uses, usually in cubic meters (m3).

It is frequently divided by source, such as:

Surface water: Amount of water consumed from a surface water source, such as a lake, river, or reservoir.

Groundwater: The amount of water consumed from a groundwater source, such as a well.

Municipal water supply: Amount of water consumed from a municipal water supply, such as a public utility.

Measuring water usage can help companies understand how much water they use and where they use it. This data can be used to identify areas for water efficiency improvements and to set goals for reducing water consumption over time.

By segmenting water usage by source, an organization can determine which water sources are the most significant contributors to overall water usage and accordingly target efficiency efforts.

For example, suppose an organization discovers that municipal water supply accounts for a significant portion of its overall water usage. In that case, it may focus on reducing its reliance on municipal water by installing low-flow fixtures, implementing water recycling and reuse systems, or harvesting rainwater.

Measuring water usage is essential to cut costs and ensure that the organization uses water efficiently and is aware of the world’s limited resources.

Overall, measuring water usage is essential to understanding an organization’s water use, lowering its environmental impact, and saving money.

Waste generation

Waste generation measures how much waste an organization produces, usually in metric tons.

It is frequently classified by type, such as:

Hazardous waste: Waste that may be hazardous to human health or the environment, such as chemicals, batteries, or medical waste.

Non-hazardous waste: Any waste that is not considered dangerous or harmful, such as office paper, food waste, or construction debris.

Recyclable waste: Paper, plastics, and metals are examples of recyclable waste.

Non-recyclable waste: Non-recyclable waste, such as certain types of plastic or hazardous waste.

Measuring waste generation can help an organization understand how much waste it generates and what types of waste it generates. This data can be used to identify areas for waste reduction efforts and to set goals for reducing waste generation over time.

By categorizing waste generation, an organization can better understand which types of waste contribute the most to overall waste generation and target waste reduction efforts accordingly.

For example, suppose an organization discovers that food waste accounts for a significant portion of its overall waste generation. In that case, it may focus on reducing food waste by implementing composting, donating excess food to charity, or improving inventory management.

Measuring waste generation is essential to cut costs and ensure that the organization is aware of the environmental impact of waste.

Measuring waste generation is essential to understanding an organization’s waste production, reducing its environmental impact, and saving money.

Air and water pollution levels

Pollutant levels in the air and water near an organization’s facilities are measured using air and water pollution levels.

Among these pollutants are:

Air pollutants: Particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants in the air that can harm human health and the environment are examples of air pollutants.

Water pollutants: Chemicals, heavy metals, and other pollutants in water that can harm aquatic life and make water unsafe for human consumption.

Measuring air and water pollution levels can help an organization understand the environmental impact of its operations. In addition, the collected data can be used to pinpoint specific sources of pollution and set goals for lowering pollution levels over time.

Monitoring equipment placed near the facility can be used to measure air pollution levels. The collected data can be used to calculate the concentrations of specific pollutants in the air, such as particulate matter or sulfur dioxide. In addition, this data can be used to pinpoint specific sources of pollution, such as emissions from an exact industrial process or mode of transportation.

Water pollution levels can be determined by collecting water samples from nearby water sources such as rivers, lakes, or wells. These samples are then analyzed in a laboratory to determine the concentrations of specific pollutants like heavy metals or organic compounds.

An organization can reduce its environmental impact by identifying and reducing pollution sources by measuring air and water pollution levels. Such practices include:

  • Upgrading equipment to reduce emissions.
  • Implementing best management practices.
  • Investing in new pollution-reducing technologies.

Overall, measuring air and water pollution levels is essential to understanding an organization’s environmental impact, identifying pollution sources, and taking action to reduce pollution levels.

Want A Sustainable Project?

Talk to UGREEN and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

Biodiversity loss

The impact of an organization’s activities on the diversity of living organisms in an ecosystem, such as the destruction of natural habitats or the loss of species populations, is measured as biodiversity loss.

A variety of human activities can contribute to this, including:

Habitat destructions: Destruction of natural habitats, such as forests, wetlands, and grasslands, for other purposes such as agriculture, urban development, or resource extraction.

Pollution: Pollutants released into the environment, such as chemicals, heavy metals, or plastic waste, can harm or kill the species that live in the affected area.

Climate change: Changes in temperature, precipitation, and other climate patterns caused by human activities can impact biodiversity by altering ecosystem conditions and influencing species migration and reproduction.

Overexploitation: Excessive harvesting or hunting of species can result in population declines and even extinction.

Measuring biodiversity loss involves determining the number of species present, the number of individuals of each species, the condition of habitats, and the effects of human activities on these factors. Field surveys, remote sensing, and other methods can be used to accomplish this.

By measuring biodiversity loss, an organization can understand the environmental impact of its activities and take steps to reduce or mitigate that impact. These steps include habitat protection and restoration, pollution reduction, and sustainable resource management practices.

Overall, measuring biodiversity loss is essential to understanding an organization’s environmental impact, identifying biodiversity loss sources, and taking action to reduce or mitigate its effects on biodiversity.

Sustainable procurement

The process of purchasing goods and services in a way that considers the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the products or services being purchased is known as sustainable procurement. Its goal is to ensure that the organization purchases from suppliers who meet specific sustainability criteria, such as:

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Purchasing from suppliers who use renewable energy, have low carbon emissions in their manufacturing processes, or have a solid environmental management system can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Conserving water: Water conservation can be accomplished by purchasing from suppliers with efficient water use and management systems or by employing water-saving technologies.

Protecting biodiversity: Buying from suppliers who use sustainable farming or harvesting practices that preserve natural habitats or who have a robust environmental management system can help protect biodiversity.

Labor rights and social impact: Purchasing from suppliers who treat their employees well, pay fair wages, and protect workers’ rights is one example.

Measuring sustainable procurement involves calculating the percentage of goods and services purchased from suppliers who meet specific sustainability criteria. This practice can be accomplished through supplier audits, self-evaluations, or third-party certifications.

An organization can ensure that it purchases products or services produced socially and environmentally responsibly by implementing sustainable procurement. This action can result in cost savings, risk reduction, and a better reputation.

Overall, sustainable procurement is essential to ensure that an organization purchases goods and services considering the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the products or services being purchased. This responsible purchase enables organizations to reduce their environmental and social impact while positively contributing to society and the planet.

Renewable energy usage

Renewable energy usage is a percentage of an organization’s energy consumption derived from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro. Renewable energy sources are considered sustainable because, unlike fossil fuels, they produce little to no greenhouse gas emissions and do not deplete finite resources.

Measuring renewable energy usage involves calculating the percentage of an organization’s energy consumption from renewable sources.

This calculation can be accomplished by tracking the organization’s energy consumption and comparing it to the amount of energy generated by renewable sources like on-site solar panels or purchased from renewable energy providers.

An organization’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental impact can be reduced by increasing the proportion of energy consumed from renewable sources. Furthermore, renewable energy can save costs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Businesses can increase their use of renewable energy by installing on-site renewable energy generation, such as solar panels or small wind turbines, purchasing renewable energy from utility providers, or implementing energy efficiency measures that reduce overall energy consumption.

Overall, measuring renewable energy usage is a crucial step toward understanding an organization’s energy consumption, identifying opportunities to increase renewable energy use, and taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

Recycling rates

Recycling rates are the percentage of recycled materials rather than disposed of in landfills or burned. These materials may include the following:

Paper: Newspapers, office paper, cardboard, and so on.

Plastic: Bottles, packaging, and other items made of plastic.

Metals: Metals include aluminum cans, steel cans, and so on.

Glass: bottles, jars, and so on.

Organics: Organics include food scraps, yard waste, and so on.

Recycling rates can be calculated by comparing the proportion of materials collected for recycling to the total amount of materials generated. This calculation can be accomplished by tracking the number of recyclable materials collected and comparing it to the total amount of materials generated by the organization.

Recycling conserves natural resources by reducing the need to extract new raw materials and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, lowering negative environmental impacts such as pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can also generate jobs and economic benefits.

Recycling rates can be increased by implementing recycling programs, educating employees and customers about recycling, and providing convenient and accessible recycling options.

Overall, measuring recycling rates is critical in understanding an organization’s waste management practices, identifying opportunities to increase recycling, and reducing waste sent to landfills and incinerators while conserving natural resources.

Environmental KPIs: a conclusion

Finally, measuring and comprehending environmental KPIs is critical for organizations seeking to reduce their environmental impact and operate more sustainably.

Organizations can identify areas for improvement and set targets for reducing their environmental footprint by tracking and analyzing data on environmental KPIs such as carbon footprint, energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, air and water pollution levels, biodiversity loss, sustainable procurement, renewable energy usage, and recycling rates.

Implementing these environmental KPIs also assists organizations in becoming more transparent and accountable for their environmental performance, which can lead to cost savings, risk reduction, and an improved reputation.

However, understanding and implementing environmental KPIs can be complex, and organizations may need help and guidance to do it effectively. That’s why we offer professional consultancy services and training to help organizations measure and understand their environmental performance and take action to reduce their environmental impact.

As a result, organizations can gain a deeper understanding of their environmental performance and identify opportunities to reduce their environmental footprint by working with us. Therefore, we invite you to discover our consultancy services and training and take the first step towards a more sustainable future.

Want A Sustainable Project?

Talk to UGREEN and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

If you need our services in the Portuguese language, click here.


Tags


You may also like

>

JOIN UGREEN ON GREEN INTERIORS DAY IN MILAN ON APRIL 15TH!