We love to share interesting and useful insights about environmental data management. Here’s an article that was posted on Environmental Leader that has a slightly different approach to data management than we’ve featured or written about here before, but one that could prove to be very useful when it comes to talking about environmental projects with your CEO and other executives.
It proposes that environmental data, like water consumption and tons of air emissions, isn’t communicated in a way that most decision makers can put into context and use to implement key policy changes. But because of the size and diversity of the manufacturing industry, it is no small task to develop and perfect a system for environmental data management. Several industries are trying to solve this issue.
The article suggests to businesses to develop a mathematical system of converting environmental data into a more context-heavy and referential unit of measurement:
“For instance, businesses might transform each domain-specific resource into the energy used to create that resource. This can then expressed in terms of what we call Energy Points, using the equivalent of the embodied energy of a gallon of gasoline as a unit and factoring in local parameters such as water scarcity. So instead of wondering what is the relative importance of 1,000 kgal and 1,000 kWh, businesses can simply treat each domain like Weight Watcher’s treats calories – based on efficiency points. This is one way we collapse Big Data to a common metric to address resource consumption decisions.”
Writer Dr. Ory Zik also draws a comparison with sustainability reporting and planning as well, noting that manufacturers and environmental specialists are still hammering out a consistent methodology:
“This is also the biggest problem plaguing sustainability reporting – the lack of a common, universally accepted language for environmental sustainability that serves as a common denominator for comparing projects in different domains.”
We’ve covered the issue of measuring and reporting corporate sustainability on this blog too, suggesting different ways this hurdle could be overcome and highlighting the efforts currently underway to create a standardized methodology for sustainability reporting.
- A Crash Course in GRI Reporting for Environmental Management
- GADSL: The New Automotive Environmental Compliance System
- Environmental Data Management The Greenwashing Antidote
Environmental data management, once a task for government regulators, is now becoming a practice companies must not only use to comply with regulation but to also communicate to shareholders and the public. Transparency about your performance, outputs, emissions, and investments increase public perception and trust. In an era where a company’s reputation can determine your survival in a global marketplace, keeping up with accurate metrics is extremely important. As the arena for business success continues to change, environmental data management and sustainability tracking will grow to become a standard practice across every industry.
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