Analyzing with indicators: Knowing how to read environmental data

The first step in analyzing a company's sustainability measures is to interpret the data that have been collected.

Drawing up a spreadsheet

The spreadsheet below may be used to interpret the data collected after completing the previous steps. All spreadsheets and tools required for data collection and analysis can be obtained from the OECD website: Tools for data collection and calculation

Example of a spreadsheet

This example shows analysis of data relating to the energy consumption indicator (O2, operational processes) for a theoretical company:

The spreadsheet shows that the company has energy consumption of 8 megajoules (MJ) per product (in this case, the company has chosen the number of products manufactured at a given production unit as the standardization factor). The most important information for determining the potential for improving sustainability is also shown.

Example of a spreadsheet of a fictitious company

Type of energy

Annual energy consumption (MJ)

Electricity purchased from suppliers


Fuel oil


Natural gas


Biogas generated by the unit’s waste


Wood waste generated by the unit


Total energy consumed


Standardization factor =
Number of products manufactured annually


Energy consumption indicator (O2) =
Total energy consumed/standardization factor

8 MJ/product

Source: OECD guidelines on sustainable production

In this scenario, natural gas (200,000 MJ) represents the largest source of energy used by the company, followed by the electricity purchased from industrial services and fuel oil.

Improving the sustainability of energy consumption

The company in question has several options for reducing its global energy consumption. It can, for example, endeavor to increase its energy efficiency or reduce one or more of its energy sources according to their usage. These options will be evaluated in greater detail in the following chapters.


Last modification 10.10.2022

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