Scenarios for improving sustainability

The objective of the fourth step in the analysis of a company’s sustainability measures is to compare the options for improvement using scenarios.

Based on the options for improving sustainability identified in the previous step, it is possible to outline several scenarios in order to compare the consequences of each of these options on the operation of the company.

Drawing up a spreadsheet

A spreadsheet can prove very useful for displaying the costs and profits generated by pursuing a particular option side by side. All of the spreadsheets and tools required for data collection and analysis may be obtained from the OECD website: Tools for data collection and calculation.

Example of a spreadsheet

In the example below, a fictitious company is using a spreadsheet to examine the financial considerations which will influence the sustainability measures it undertakes. Such spreadsheets can also be used to determine the costs and profits associated with numerous other factors (reputation, brand image, employee morale, etc.).

  Scenario 1
Base scenario
Scenario 2 
Replacing refrigeration equipment to reduce dependence on back-up generators
Scenario 3
Improving insulation and ventilation and increasing glazed surface areas to reduce overall consumption
Total annual energy consumption (MJ) 400,000 350,000 300,000
Energy consumption indicator (O2) =
Total energy consumed/standardization factor
8MJ/product 7MJ/product
(-12.5% compared to Scenario 1)
(-25% compared to Scenario 1)
Annual energy cost USD 200,000 USD 180,000 USD 150,000
Annual difference in energy costs compared to Scenario 1   USD 200,000 USD 50,000
Cost of new equipment 0 USD 50,000 USD 200,000
Expected life of new
  5 Jahre 10 Jahre
Annual depreciation   USD 10,000 USD 20,000
Total annual cost USD 200,000 USD 190,000 USD 170,000
Repayment period   2,5 Jahre 4 Jahre
Net profit 0 USD 50,000 USD 300,000
Return on investment   100% 150%
Source: OECD guidelines on sustainable production

Interpretation of the spreadsheet

These different scenarios show that there is more than one option for reducing a company’s energy consumption. In Scenarios 2 and 3, it is possible to save money and energy, despite initial investments.


Last modification 10.10.2022

Top of page