Measuring the sustainability of production factors

By using sustainability measurements in their production factors, SMEs can improve their performances and reduce their costs.

All materials used for the manufacture of a product have consequences on the environment. These can be evaluated using three indicators:

  • I1. Non-renewable materials intensity
  • I2. Restricted substances intensity
  • I3. Recycled/reused content

These are listed on the OECD website, where additional information may be found:

Calculation of sustainability indicators for manufacturing factors

To calculate these indicators, the company must be able to determine the quantity of each material required for manufacture of its products. This information can be obtained from suppliers.

The indicators are calculated using the following formula:


I1. Non-renewable materials intensity = Weight of non-renewable resources consumed / Standardization factor

The indicator will fall as sustainability improves


I2. Restricted substances intensity = Weight of restricted substances consumed / Standardization factor

The indicator will fall as sustainability improves


I3. Recycled/reused content of material inputs = (Total weight of recycled material + Total weight of reused material) / Total weight of material inputs

The indicator will increase at the same time as sustainability


The information relating to Standardization factors is available in the chapter entitled “Standardization of environmental performance”:

Benefits generated by improved sustainability

In addition to reducing the company's environmental impact, increasing the sustainability of production factors offers several major advantages:

Graphic. Shows the benefits generated by a greater sustainability of the production factors of a business

Source: OECD guidelines on sustainable manufacturing

These measurements also enable the company to offer its customers a guarantee of compliance with environmental standards.


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Last modification 28.08.2018

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