Why is this important?
For strategic corporate goals in the area of sustainability to be achieved, the progress made must be regularly recorded to enable targeted adaptation of the measures implemented as necessary. This calls not only for especially clearly formulated goals (see criterion 3), but also for their measurement based on suitable performance indicators. In particular, the achievement of interim goals can be used to internally and externally communicate the progress made in the area of sustainability.
What do the terms mean?
The term performance indicator refers to metrics that measure a company’s sustainability performance in qualitative or quantitative form. The indicators can be used both within internal controlling and management and in external communication. Examples of performance indicators include energy consumption per tonne of produced product, paper consumption per employee or the proportion of women in senior management.
Reliability means that the same result would be achieved if the measuring process were repeated under the same conditions, indicating the result was not a product of chance. In terms of implementation, this means, for example, that the data is collected using the same methodology at all of a company’s sites in order to keep it consistent and to allow it to be combined.
Indicators applied internally should ideally remain comparable over time in order to make any changes visible. This means, for example, that temporary employees should not be included in the company headcount one year, only to be excluded the next.
If possible, indicators which are communicated externally should correspond with generally accepted standards to allow you to compare your company with others.
Consistency in this context means that the metrics you choose really are suitable for ascertaining whether or not you have achieved your goal. If, for example, you set a goal of reducing your company’s entire energy consumption, but are only able to measure its electricity consumption, there is information missing (e.g. on the consumption of gas for heating and hot water) and the indicator is not consistent. Additionally, your basis of assessment must remain unchanged throughout the period under review in order to make your results meaningful.
What needs to be borne in mind?
This criterion is primarily about using data which is collected regularly for the internal and external presentation of your progress in the area of sustainability. You should state how you guarantee the quality of such qualitative and quantitative data. Additionally and in particular, the correlation between the goals contained in the sustainability strategy and the information recorded should be made clear.
Here, indicators taken from (for example) the GRI and EFFAS can be used as performance indicators. These may, however, be collated in different ways or combined with other key figures depending on the level within the company. You can, of course, voluntarily supplement the performance indicators used within the Sustainability Code with other relevant key figures that monitor your progress in the area of sustainability. You should therefore report on the key performance indicators you use to make the success of your strategy visible.