Home Reporting The 5 most important Sustainability KPIs

The five most important sustainability KPIs

Why do you need key performance indicators in the sustainability area? What are the 5 most important sustainability KPIs? And why are Sustainability KPIs important for your company? These questions are answered in the following article.

Table of contents

Why are sustainability KPIs needed?

As climate change progresses, it will be necessary to make existing structures more sustainable. Therefore, sustainability reporting will continue to gain importance and become more legally relevant in the future. Today, this development can be seen, for example, in the new EU taxonomy, which aims at uniform sustainability reporting by companies.

The objective in the area of sustainability KPIs is to present sustainability in figures and thus make it measurable whether and, if so, how much a company is becoming more sustainable. A crucial question here is which key figures are relevant. In reporting, KPIs are not only used for comparison between different time periods, but can also help to classify a company.

So far, no uniform KPIs have been defined for sustainability reporting. Nevertheless, existing standards such as GRI, SASB, 17 SDGs or WEF play a role in the choice of KPIs. Based on this, the 5 most important sustainability KPIs are presented and explained below. These refer exclusively to the ecological dimension of sustainability.

The 5 most important KPIs for sustainability in the company

carbon footprint

Carbon Footprint

Arguably the most important key figure is the carbon footprint of a company. This is because it analyses a wide range of data from both the company in question and its suppliers and customers. By measuring emission areas 1, 2 and 3, organisations can assess how the market presence of their products or services affects climate change. For more on the carbon footprint, see our wiki series on the topic: Corporate and Product Carbon Footprint, How do I calculate the carbon footprint?, Overview Carbon Footprint Software.


Energy Consumption

Reducing the energy intensity of processes is one way to pave the way towards renewable energies. This is because less energy-intensive processes consume less energy overall, which can then be covered by renewable energy to a greater extent. Therefore, companies should analyse how much energy they consume and identify where they can consume less. This analysis and the implementation of measures to reduce energy consumption lead to cost savings for the company and fewer emissions from the energy generation plants. Digital tools and applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT) can also provide valuable information on energy consumption in production.

Supply chain

Supply Chain Miles

Although production is often considered the primary source of emissions, the miles traveled in the supply chain should also be considered. These may offer even further development opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy. To gain full insight, companies must have access to data on the total mileage of their supply chain and the impact of their transportation methods. Once this data is available, it may be possible, for example, to switch to alternatively powered vehicles and transport solutions, or to find more efficient distribution routes using applications and in consultation with suppliers.


Product Recycling Rate

In sustainability reporting, it is not only the production of the product that is relevant, but also its use and recyclability. In a circular economy, for example, products are recycled and thus returned to the production cycle. As end consumers become more conscious of recyclability and the sourcing of product materials, companies should monitor the life cycle of their products. This enables them to keep pace with market trends on the one hand, and on the other hand to ensure that not only the production but also the further use of the products is sustainable.


Waste Reduction and Recycling Rate

Similar to product recycling, waste recycling is about reuse and, moreover, also about saving waste. This is not only usually more cost-effective for companies, but also more environmentally friendly, as fewer materials end up in waste. Therefore, the recycling and waste reduction rate is considered an important metric in sustainability reporting. Once the data has been collected, it can be evaluated how, for example, waste can be further reduced by using the material more efficiently. In addition, it can be clarified whether waste materials are used in other processes (possibly also in other companies) and can be returned to the production cycle through reuse or sale.


Sustainability KPIs are necessary to measure the progress of a company's sustainability goals. measurable sustainability goals. There are still no standardized KPIs that must be used in sustainability reporting. Nevertheless, with the help of the measurement of the above 5 most important sustainability KPIs sustainability in the company can be evaluated and improved.

Know more?

Would you like to delve deeper into this topic? Then we look forward to a personal exchange on the topic of sustainability reporting. Simply get in touch with us!

More information on the topic of sustainability can also be found in other Wiki articles.

Your analytics contact
Nadine Matt_2
Nadine Matt
Customer Engagement & Communication Executive

Published by:

Dea Marovic

Lead Sustainability & Professional Analytics Consultant


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