Workplace

• Health and safety

• Lost time accident frequency (number, per million hours worked)

• Expenditure on illness and accident prevention relative to payroll expense

Source: IChemE (2002).

and safety issues as well as societal issues, such as number of stakeholder meetings, complaints, and so on, expressed per unit value added.

6.1.1.6 Automated Sustainability Metrics Management Tools. As sustainability metrics have developed to include the assessment of potential impacts and lifecycle considerations, the challenges in calculating and managing the metrics is increased. However, this challenge can be reduced through the use of automated sustainability metrics management software tools, such as BRIDGESworks™ Metrics (Tanzil et al., 2004). The software tool incorporates the basic and complementary set of metrics shown in Tables 6.2 and 6.3, along with their heuristics for calculation, as well as provides the capability to construct a customized set of metrics. In addition, a robust set of impact assessment methodologies is included for use in identifying the potential effects of toxics and pollutants. An example screen capture from the tool is shown in Figure 6.2.

The availability of such automated tools will further facilitate the incorporation of sustainability metrics for management and progress tracking, especially when integrated into a company's internal management information system. The tool will help companies collect data at the process or facility level as well as aggregate metrics from process, facility, all the way to the corporate level. In addition, with the capability to stack the metrics along the product's lifecycle, it encourages lifecycle thinking in management decision-making.

6.1.1.7 Using Sustainability Metrics. While sustainability metrics have become increasingly sophisticated in content and methodology, they continue to consolidate disparate data into meaningful measures that provide insights for decision-making. Metrics can be used to support various decision-making activities, including:

Society

• Number of stakeholder meetings per unit value-added

• Indirect community benefit per unit value-added

• Number of complaints per unit value-added

• Number of legal actions per unit value-added

Figure 6.2. Data input screen of BRIDGESworks™ Metrics, an automated metrics management tool.

• Evaluating alternatives, including:

• technical alternatives, for example, different raw materials and process improvement options, and

• business alternatives, for example, different supplier and acquisition options;

• Comparing facilities/business units;

• Identifying environmental aspects and impacts of an industrial operation; and

• Tracking performance over time.

When desired, the metrics may also be employed to communicate with stakeholders, such as in external reports.

In Section 6.1.2, Constable et al. describe the use of sustainability metrics in product and process development at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical company. To fit the metrics to their own needs, GSK has further developed specific green chemistry metrics, such as mass productivity, reaction mass efficiency, and total solvent recovery energy, for evaluating chemical synthetic processes. To evaluate chemical processing technologies, GSK uses green technology metrics that includes mass efficiency, percent purity, heating and cooling energy, in addition to those similar to basic sustainability metrics shown in Table 6.2.

In Section 6.1.3, Ernst Schwanhold describes an eco-efficiency analysis methodology developed at BASF. Based on standard lifecycle assessment, the analysis involves the use of metrics for various resource uses and environmental and health and safety impacts. The use of normalization and weighting methodologies to generate a single-value environmental performance score is also illustrated in great detail here. Furthermore, the section also presents discussion on the extension of the eco-efficiency analysis to "socio-efficiency," by including various social aspects of sustainability. While the methodology is also primarily used in products and process development, it has also been applied to strategy development as well as to communication with industrial customers and other value-chain partners of BASF.

The use of sustainability metrics in product and process development follows the rule of consecutive refinement in design. This is illustrated in a recently completed pilot on the use of sustainability metrics in the design of steel components (Beloff et al., 2004). In the collaborative work between BRIDGES to Sustainability and Caterpillar Inc., it was found that, in the early stages of design, energy use and its associated greenhouse gas emissions can be reasonably estimated from simulation and lifecycle data from literature. On the other hand, only rough estimates for wastes and emissions are available. Better estimates of wastes and emissions require knowledge of equipment and operating conditions that are not yet identified in the early design stages. Similar conditions exist for chemical processes, highlighting the need for consecutive refinement of the metrics with each design stage.

Obviously, sustainability metrics may also play an important role in management decision-making, especially in progress tracking. As noted by the National Research Council (1999), "The ability to gauge improvement in any endeavor is critically dependent on establishing valid methods of measuring performance. Tracking progress toward an established goal serves to influence behavior by providing continual feedback, and it requires reliable and consistent metrics against which performance can be compared." Many of the eco-efficiency and socio-economic metrics described above are used in companies (see, for example, NRC, 1999; GEMI, 1998) and tracked on a quarterly, annually, or other periodical basis. Metrics used for routine progress tracking, however, tend to be simpler than the more sophisticated ones used in product and process development. The use of impact assessment, in particular, is only gradually gaining acceptance in management use, facilitated by the use of information technology in metrics management.

In developing a metrics program for a company, it is important to realize that "one size doesn't fit all" (GEMI, 1998). Each company has its own distinct set of concerns due to its unique combination of operational, geographical, technological, and community factors. Therefore, an ISO 14001 type of "aspects and impacts" analysis is a good place to start in developing a metrics program. This can be performed by mapping a company's operations and identifying environmental and other sustainability concerns for each operation. Then, a larger set of metrics can be piloted at representative facilities or business units to identify the most relevant ones. For example, a pilot was recently conducted using BRIDGES' sustainability metrics at The Stanley Works, a worldwide manufacturer and provider of tools, hardware, and security products (Nelson, 2003). Comparison of metrics for similar manufacturing facilities within The Stanley Works led to the identification of improvement opportunities in facilities that perform less efficiently than others. When applied to stages in the value chain (production of raw materials, manufacturing processes, and transportation), the metrics provided insights on the relative contribution of the different stages to impacts such as energy use, waste generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Issues regarding data sources and reliability were also identified in this pilot. Once the most important metrics are identified, one may construct a system for periodic tracking and establish measurable goals at the corporate, business, and facility levels to drive improvement towards sustainability.

6.1.1.8 Summary and Challenges. In the past decade, we have witnessed considerable progress in the development of sustainability metrics, especially in the chemical industry. Metrics, especially those focused on eco-efficiency, have gained acceptance for use in management, progress tracking, marketing, as well as in the assessment of a company's products and processes. Progress has also been made in extending the eco-efficiency analysis to workplace and community well-being as well as in identifying separate social and economic metrics of sustainability. Availability of automated metrics management tools should further facilitate the use of sustainability metrics, especially when integrated into a company's management information system.

Several issues, however, need further exploration. While considerable efforts have been made in developing performance metrics, leading metrics such as management metrics still require additional development. Such metrics, however, may differ considerably from one company or organization to another due to the varying cause-and-effect relationship within each company or organization. Moreover, while anecdotal evidence exists that links various impacts to a company's financial performance, further studies are needed to more explicitly link sustainability metrics to a company's exposure to risks and opportunities.

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