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Innovating for Corporate Sustainability Management

Downloadable context-based metrics

Companies interested in experiencing the use of context-based metrics in their sustainability programs will be pleased to know that we now make certain of our metrics freely downloadable. For starters, templates for our context-based carbon and solid waste metrics are now downloadable from this page.

Context-based carbon metric (for businesses)

Our context-based carbon metric (first piloted with Ben & Jerry’s in 2006) measures the greenhouse gas emissions of a company against reduction targets specified in the new (science-based) SSP1-2.6 mitigation scenario, a <2-degree model. The SSP1-2.6 scenario allocates reduction burdens unevenly throughout the world according to where emitters are located and the development status of the economies involved. Our metric incorporates the higher burden placed on OECD countries.

The latest version of our context-based carbon metric (an Excel spreadsheet) is downloadable here. Answers to frequently asked questions about our metric can be found here.

Context-based carbon metric (for municipalities)

Our context-based carbon metric is now available in a version designed for municipalities (and human populations at any other scale of interest). As in the case of our other carbon metrics, the municipal metric is science-based and assesses emissions relative to reduction targets specified in the new SSP1-2.6 mitigation scenario. The SSP1-2.6 scenario allocates reduction burdens unevenly throughout the world according to where emitters are located and the development status of the economies involved. Our metric incorporates the higher burden placed on OECD countries.

The latest version of our context-based carbon metric for municipalities (an Excel spreadsheet) is downloadable here.

Context-based carbon metric (for higher education)

In 2014, we worked with Corey Johnson, a Master of Environmental Management Candidate (2015) at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, to develop an adaptation of our context-based carbon metric for use in college & university settings.

The main difference between the higher education and business versions of our metric is the manner in which emissions entitlements and mitigation burdens are allocated.  In the case of business, our metric makes such allocations in a way that is proportionate to a company’s contributions to GDP; in the case of colleges and universities, allocations are made according to a school’s headcount.  The latter uses a headcount metric we call Per Capita Equivalent.

Like the business version of our metric, the higher education version measures the greenhouse gas emissions of a school against reduction targets specified in the new SSP1-2.6 mitigation scenario. The SSP1-2.6 scenario allocates reduction burdens unevenly throughout the world according to where emitters are located and the development status of the economies involved. Our metric incorporates the higher burden placed on OECD countries.

The latest higher education version of our context-based carbon metric (an Excel spreadsheet) is downloadable here.

Context-based waste metric

Our context-based waste metric was first developed in 2012 and measures the volume of municipal solid wastes (MSW) a company sends to landfills against a diversion target of 100 percent (zero waste to landfill) by 2025 and a baseline year of 2016. Users of this metric can easily substitute baseline years and target dates of their own choosing.

The latest version of our context-based waste metric (an Excel spreadsheet) is downloadable here.

Other context-based metrics

Context-based water metric

CSO also created the world’s first context-based water metric way back in 2009, which has since been used at hundreds of sites throughout the U.S. Originally known, and still sometimes referred to as the Corporate Water Gauge, our context-based water metric makes it possible to assess the sustainability of water use relative to local conditions in the watersheds in which businesses and facilities are located. To do that, we make use of GIS technology which takes contextually relevant spatial and meteorological conditions explicitly into account. More about our context-based water metric can be found here.

Context-based social metrics

CSO is also the home of the Social Footprint Method, a context-based approach for assessing the social sustainability performance of organizations developed in 2006. More about that application of context-based metrics in the social arena can be found here: The Social Footprint Method

Context-based triple bottom line metrics

Last, CSO is also a co-developer of the MultiCapital Scorecard, the world’s first context-based triple bottom line method co-created by Martin Thomas and CSO Executive Director, Mark McElroy. More about that method, which is open-source and includes treatment of context-based economic performance, can be found here: The MultiCapital Scorecard

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Note: CSO is especially grateful for the involvement and support of the following organizations in the development of the metrics described on this page: Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Dartmouth College, St. Michael’s College, the University of Groningen, and the University of Massachusetts.

The Center for Sustainable Organizations

What differentiates CSO from others in the sustainability arena is its strong commitment to an approach for corporate sustainability measurement, management and reporting that is context-based