Choosing the best environmental indicators
Choosing the environmental performance indicators that best meet an SME’s requirements requires consistency with the goals set.
The second step in the process is to select some, or even all, of the 18 environmental indicators set out in this section. These indicators are only a base—an SME can remove or add elements depending on its business activity. Additional indicators may also be used.
The SME might not have all the data required for calculation of some indicators, particularly at the start of the process. This should not be an obstacle for the company in question. To start with, even partial data can help to pinpoint problems in terms of environmental performance.
Number of indicators to choose
The quantity of indicators selected depends on the data already available to the entrepreneur and the resources he or she is prepared to implement to collect other data.
- Novice. As a preliminary step towards sustainable production, an entrepreneur can select between one and five indicators according to the data the company usually collects.
- Intermediate. A more informed entrepreneur may extend his or her action and select between six and 12 indicators associated with specific identified issues.
- Advanced. For the even better informed, it is possible to measure between 13 and 18 environmental performance indicators—or even more depending on the company’s business.
How to choose the right indicators
- Identifying the relevant indicators. The indicators chosen should reflect the goals set when taking the first step. For example, if energy use has been defined as a priority, the entrepreneur must take into account the energy consumption indicator (O2), the renewable energy consumption indicator (O3) and the greenhouse gas emissions indicator (O4).
- Establishing which data are necessary. For each indicator, the SME must provide a series of data which should be recorded meticulously.
- Introducing a data recording process. The entrepreneur must ensure that data are collected very carefully and managed so that they keep their full meaning and are not distorted. For example, a regulation can stipulate that certain data must be measured in a certain way, at regular intervals and that the results must be automatically copied into a specific document. Any anomalies or problems will then be very quickly identified.