Environmental sustainability involves the conservation of natural resources and protection of the planet. When considering this from a business perspective, environmental sustainability concerns the relationship between a business, its product or service, and the planet.
To measure this effectively it is important to take a step back and look at the wider picture. Environmental sustainability includes, among other areas, your business’ greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, water usage and recycling approach.
The best starting point when measuring sustainability is to focus on your direct emissions (known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions). These are caused directly by the activities and operations of your SME, through owned or controlled sources – things such as the heating in your office, or company vehicles.
Once regular assessment of your Scope 1 and 2 emissions has been established, it might be time to progress to measuring emissions caused indirectly by your business.
Indirect emissions are often referred to as Scope 3 emissions, these include your overall supply chain and product lifecycle. They address questions such as, how far a is product travelling from manufacturer to distributor? How much energy is used in the manufacturing process? What emissions are you responsible for, but causing indirectly? Scope 3 are often harder to measure but they can be highly significant to your overall emissions profile.