Measuring Environmental Management Performance

As with any strategic initiative, there needs to be way measure performance with respect to any environmental management initiative.  The Table below summarizes some environmental management performance measures that have been cited in a selection of studies that were reviewed by Montiel.[1]  A variety of metrics have been used include the steps taken to integrate environmental issues into decision making regarding the company’s strategies and operations; the scope of environmental policies; and selection and use of various strategies based on environmental management initiatives.

Examples of Environmental Management Performance Measures
Environmental Management (Corporate Environmental Strategies)
10 dimensions (practices to reduce impact on animal and natural habitats, voluntary actions for environmental restoration, modification of business practices to reduce wastes and emissions from operations, modification of business practices to reduce purchase of nonrenewable materials, use of reduction of traditional fuels by the substitution of some less polluted energy sources, reduction of energy consumption, reduction of environmental impact of products, reduction of risk of environmental accidents, partnerships to reduce environmental impact, environmental audits) Sharma & Vredenburg (1998); Chan (2005)
Environmental Issues (Integration Capability)
Survey items about environmental issues explicitly considered, consideration for the natural environment within the company’s mission statement, top management team makes proactive thinking decisions, environmental personnel participate in the company’s strategic planning process Judge & Douglas (1998)
Best Practices in Environmental Management
8 survey items on cost advantage, use of pollution prevention technologies, innovation of proprietary pollution, and timing of environmental strategies Christmann (2000)
13 environmental policies: policy publication, environmental performance targets, annual environmental report, environmental management system, environmental purchasing, environmental training, environmental responsibilities, life-cycle assessment, sustainable development understanding, fossil fuel use reduction, toxic chemical use reduction, sustainable products use, practices abroad Ramus & Steger (2000)

Source: I. Montiel, “Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability: Separate Pasts, Common Futures”, Organization and Environment, 21(3) (September 2008), 245, 262-263.  The article reported the results of the author’s extensive survey of the evolution of management literature in both general management and specialized journals with respect to CSR and corporate sustainability (“CS”).  The article quantifies the research work and summarizes the different CSR-and CS-related definitions to identify the definitional differences between CSR and corporate sustainability. This Table, adapted from the article, lists examples of measurement instruments used by scholars to operationalize environmental management in the general management articles reviewed and full citations for the references can be found in the “References” section of the article.

This post is part of the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Project’s extensive materials on Entrepreneurship and Sustainability and Entrepreneurship.

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