Standardization of environmental performance

Standardization of environmental performance indicators allows for a better understanding of the data collected and a comparison of results with competitors’ results.

Instead of using an absolute value, some indicators can be expressed in relative terms. The indicators then correspond to a performance per production unit.

The indicators to which this standardization applies are the following:

  • I1. Non-renewable materials intensity
  • I2. Restricted substances intensity
  • O1. Water intensity
  • O2. Energy intensity
  • O4. Greenhouse gas intensity
  • O5. Residuals intensity
  • O6. Air releases intensity
  • O7. Water releases intensity
  • P4. Non-renewable materials intensity
  • P6. Energy consumption intensity
  • P7. Greenhouse gas emissions intensity

For example, the water intensity indicator (O1) is defined as follows:

  • O1. Water intensity = Total water intake in m3 / Standardization factor

For a standardization factor, the entrepreneur can choose the total number of units manufactured within the company. If this standardization factor was not taken into account, the value of the indicator would follow the number of units produced. It would not provide any genuinely relevant information about the efficiency of water intensity and would not allow a comparison of performance with another company producing a different quantity of units.

For the other definitions of environmental performance indicators, see:

The choice of standardization factor remains free. It depends on the company’s business activities and the aspects it would like to assess. In some cases, professional associations specific to each sector provide standardization factors applicable by all companies in their sector, so that the respective performances can be compared. The most well-known factors include:

  • Number, weight or units of product manufactured within the company
  • Sales or added value within the company
  • Number of hours worked per person in the company
  • Number of functions or level of service of company's products
  • Life of products

To optimize the use of environmental performance indicators, it is important to keep the same standardization factors over time.


Last modification 28.02.2020

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