First is the purpose of the measurement. If the goal is to understand impacts or to develop information for public reporting, it may be sufficient to measure and report on impacts. However, if the purpose is to guide management action to improve performance, then specific areas contributing to that performance and associated measures will have to be identified.

The second factor is the availability of information. Information that is readily available is more likely to be used. Much of the information can be gleaned through reviews or audits (Steelman et al., this volume) and then used to provide a basis for setting quantitative objectives against which performance may be measured.

Measurability is the third factor. In the industrial green game, simple measures such as energy efficiency or material-use efficiency are easier to determine than more complex factors such as supplier performance. Because continuous improvement is a feature of the green game, information should be gathered even if obtaining a measure is difficult and especially if a particular aspect of operation is considered important.

Finally, the controllability of what is being measured should be factored into the development of performance measures. Controllability and measurability are closely linked. Some areas of environmental impacts, such as emissions or energy use, are easier to measure and control. Others, such as supplier performance, customer satisfaction, or the environmental impacts of products, are more difficult to control but may be important to measuring performance.

Steelman et al. (this volume) and Marstander (this volume) provide details of how two companies gathered information to identify opportunities for continuous improvement. The essence of measuring performance in the industrial green game requires first identifying the information to be gathered. Progress is gauged by comparing these data with baseline information, and periodic audits are then used to evaluate progress in meeting environmental quality goals as well as identify areas for improvement.

Gauging Consumer Attitudes

As purchasers of products and services, consumers are critical to playing the industrial green game well. Consumer demand for "green" products and competition from companies that play the green game well determine the value companies place on meeting that demand. Simon and Woodell (this volume) track environmental policies as well as consumer attitudes toward the environment in Europe, Japan, and the United States. They use this approach as a basis for explaining the expectations of consumers for environmentally superior goods and services, the role customers expect of companies in addressing environmental concerns, the level of consumer involvement in environmental actions, the types and levels of environmental information sought by consumers, and the impacts of "green" advertising. Simon and Woodell find increasing confusion about what



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement