There are certain metrics your SME should track for sustainability to determine whether or not you’re truly making progress.
Sustainability matters to employees and consumers more than ever. However, accusations of greenwashing run rampant. Do you have the data you need to support your Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts? Let’s review the metrics your SME should track for sustainability.
According to various studies, 70% of employees say that sustainability programs make employers more appealing, while 80% want to actively help their current employers reach sustainability goals. Younger talent particularly voices these concerns and will turn down roles just because a company does not align with their values.
Meanwhile, consumers are likewise demanding that organizations become more sustainable, and they want proof that organizations actually are becoming more sustainable if that’s something that they claim. Those organizations that can’t provide ample proof are often accused of greenwashing.
So, how do you show both sides of this equation that your company truly is putting an emphasis on sustainability?
It all comes down to the data. There are certain metrics you should track for sustainability, and it’s not just because one day, an employee, consumer or client may ask to see those metrics. In general, paying attention to metrics your SME should track for sustainability will truly show you and your team where you can improve and will help guide future decisions.
6 Metrics Your SME Should Track for Sustainability
As a Travel Manager, there are certain metrics you should track for sustainability as particularly related to travel. In fact, business travel overall is a large concern when it comes to sustainability.
According to Reuters, Business Travelers in Europe make up about 12% of airline customers but are responsible for 30% of emissions. The European Transport & Environment organization likewise says that 1% of the population causes 50% of all aviation emissions, with business travel largely to blame.
So, what travel-related metrics should you start tracking in order to support (or adjust) your company’s sustainability goals?
1. Carbon Footprint
Overall, one of the most straightforward metrics your organization can track is your carbon footprint. Even if it’s just tracking your company’s business travel-related carbon footprint, it’s a good start for getting a big-picture view of how environmentally friendly (or not) your company’s business travel is.
While tracking your carbon footprint can be difficult on your own, there are plenty of tools that can assist with this, ranging from those offered by a Travel Management Company (TMC) to other tools you can find online.
2. Carbon Emissions
Beyond tracking the company’s overall travel-related carbon footprint, you can also narrow down your metric tracking to track carbon emissions.
Ideally, you’ll work with a TMC who can help compile these metrics. Some will even allow you to book your flights and other transportation based on carbon emissions, with handy search features that allow you to compare flights based on carbon emissions before booking.
If you don’t have a TMC to help with this process, you can also find similar functionality within Google Flights, which estimates emissions according to European Environmental Agency emission estimates. Then you can sort your transportation options by emissions, so you can book the lowest-emission option possible.
Another tool you can use is Goodwings, which tracks your business travel emissions on your behalf and then helps you both reduce those emissions and pay to offset them.
Once you have data on carbon emissions, you can further narrow that data in order to glean even more valuable information, such as carbon emitted per dollar spent on travel, carbon emitted per travel day and other metrics.
3. Modes of Travel
Everyone knows that some forms of travel are just more environmentally friendly than others. Tracking your Travelers’ modes of travel, then, can help you determine to what degree your organization relies on high-emission transportation. Tracking this data and then diving further into its implications can also help teams decide if they need to change the ways they travel if more sustainable options are worth exploring, and how to change business travel practices accordingly.
4. Supplier Sustainability
How often are Travelers traveling with, staying with or otherwise working with sustainable suppliers? Do you need to adjust your travel policies to narrow in on green brands that can help you further your sustainability and carbon emissions goals? Tracking this metric will help you decide.
5. Emission and Energy Reductions
Beyond just tracking the impact that your organization’s business travel is having on the environment, also track emission and energy reductions so you can confidently state whether or not a reduction is occurring, year over year (or any other timeframe).
If there is no reduction, a further dive into the data may be necessary to determine why not and where you can adjust operations to see that reduction at a later date. If there is a reduction, that’s something to celebrate and share with talent, stakeholders and clients or consumers.
If you’re wondering what metrics you should track for sustainability, then you likelyalready have some sort of sustainability policy in place within your organization. If so, one of the metrics you’ll want to track beyond emissions is compliance with that sustainability policy.
Encouraging employee compliance with general business travel policies can be difficult but add in a sustainability factor where there wasn’t one before, and you can see even further challenges. Employees may not understand the need for the sustainability policy or may simply disregard it in favor of traveling the way they always have.
Whatever the case may be, track your team’s compliance with sustainable travel policies to show how compliance or a lack thereof impacts the organization’s overall carbon footprint and ability to adhere to sustainability and carbon emission goals.
Awareness vs. Action: Next Steps
Once you’ve looked at these metrics you should track for sustainability, it’s time to do something based on the data you’ve compiled. Awareness alone is not enough. Action is necessary.
Based on the data, what are the next steps that your organization can take to reach its sustainability goals or set some new sustainability goals? Every organization, no matter how large or small, can place an emphasis on sustainability, but it all starts with strategic metric tracking.