July 18, 2024

Homer Zaragoza

Risk Reduction

A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring and Reporting Your Sustainability Efforts

A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring and Reporting Your Sustainability Efforts


How do you measure and report your sustainability efforts? The answer is simple. You need to set goals, track progress over time, and communicate what’s happening the rest of the organization.

In this guide, we’ll walk through a step-by-step process for setting up sustainability metrics that will help you track your progress over time. We’ll also show you how to create a self-assessment tool so everyone knows where they stand on their sustainability goals—and what still needs work!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring and Reporting Your Sustainability Efforts

Identify your sustainability goals

Before you can measure and report your sustainability efforts, it’s important to identify your goals. Goals are specific targets that an organization sets for itself in order to achieve its vision. They should be measurable, time-bound and realistic–and they must align with the organization’s mission statement and values.

A good goal has five characteristics:

  • It’s specific (i.e., “We will reduce our energy consumption by 20 percent” rather than “We will improve our environmental performance”).
  • It has achievable targets (i.e., “reduce water use” instead of “conserve water”).
  • It has clear criteria for success or failure (i.e., “cut electricity consumption by 10 percent from last year’s baseline” versus “do more with less”).
  • Your team understands what success looks like so they know how close they are getting without having to ask questions about results or progress along the way
  • You have plans in place if something goes wrong (i

Measure your baseline and track your progress

Before you begin your journey to becoming a more sustainable company, it’s important to define the problem. What is sustainability? Is it just about reducing waste or water usage? Or does it also mean being fair and equitable in your hiring practices? The answer may differ depending on who you ask–and even then, there will be some disagreement.

Once you’ve defined how you want to measure your success as an organization (and how others might measure it), set goals accordingly. These goals should be realistic–they should be challenging but achievable in a reasonable amount of time (e.g., three months). If possible, try setting multiple short-term and long-term goals so that there’s always something for everyone on the team working toward making progress together!

Create a self-assessment tool

In order to measure and report your sustainability efforts, you’ll need to create a self-assessment tool. This can be done in many ways:

  • Use a template and then fill in the blanks to create your own assessment. For example, see this template for measuring carbon emissions from energy use or this one for measuring water use.
  • Use an online survey tool like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey (for small businesses) or SurveyGizmo (for larger organizations).

Communicate, share and celebrate your successes!

Once you’ve measured and reported your sustainability efforts, it’s time to share with the world!

Share with your team. The best way to get employees engaged in a company’s sustainability efforts is by making them aware of what they’re doing well and where they can improve. By sharing information about how your organization measures up against industry standards or other companies in its sector, you’ll create a sense of pride among staff members who see their hard work reflected positively in the numbers.

Share with customers/clients/stakeholders (whichever term applies). If you have customers or stakeholders who care about environmental issues but aren’t familiar with how businesses measure and report on these issues, share this information with them so they know how their purchases affect environmental health and wellbeing worldwide–and encourage them to buy from companies that prioritize sustainability practices as much as possible!

Share with community members near where production takes place. Many products require resources like water or electricity during their manufacture process; if those resources come from local sources then sharing information about those sources’ impact on local ecosystems could help increase awareness among nearby residents while encouraging sustainable practices among businesses operating within proximity thereof.”

If you have a set of strategic goals, you can report on them successfully.

If you have a set of strategic goals, you can report on them successfully.

To measure progress toward your goals and share successes with stakeholders, you’ll need to understand the difference between operational metrics and strategic metrics. Operational metrics are related to day-to-day operations and help identify areas where improvement is needed. These include things like labor hours, waste reduction and energy consumption. Strategic metrics are broader in scope and don’t change as often as operational ones do–they’re more likely to relate directly back to one or more of your organization’s core values or mission statements (e.g., “We aim for zero landfill waste by 2020”). They might not always be easy to track initially but will become easier over time once they’ve been established as part of an overall sustainability strategy plan at your company!


We hope you found this guide helpful and easy to follow. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below!