Is sustainable progress an absolute or relative measure? Is it common or unique to a specific application or pursuit?
As a business sustainability consultant, I am forever engaged in the conversation of sustainable progress. Whether discussing it in terms of environmental responsibility, social engagement, eco awareness, or business sustainability, the conversation as a whole has dramatically advanced over the past five years.
But how do we know the steps taken are in the right direction…can sustainability be measured, evaluated, and compared? What are the true measures of progress?
In a recent post, Sustainability Measures for a New Economy, we discuss the relative indicators of sustainable success. With each business navigating the economic dynamics and shifting sustainable expectations in the marketplace, we find the definers of sustainable progress are relative and unique to the experiences of the individual businesses.
Our professional consulting subscribes to the concept of unique measures and leverage Guy and Kibert’s suggested criteria for identifying business sustainability indicators:
• Validity – do they measure something relevant?
• Available and Timely – is the data available on a regular basis?
• Responsive – do they respond quickly and measurable to change?
• Representative – do they cover the important dimensions of the evaluation?
• Flexible – will they be available in the future?
• Proactive – do they act as a warning or a measure of current state?
By constantly searching for indicators, rather than measures, of success in our own pursuits, one moves away from comparisons that might deviate from unique and specific goals. Our sustainability consulting helps clients identify specific indicators that define the successes in each individual business sustainability plan.