WBCSD issues eco-efficiency measuring guide

International coalition says new framework can be used "across all industries"

An international coalition of companies has suggested a framework for measuring corporate eco-efficiency, which it claims could be used by any business to measure its progress towards environmental sustainability. The framework developed by the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) sets out a series of principles and indicators, which have been tested by 22 companies in 10 industrial sectors and from 15 countries.

Eco-efficiency is defined by WBCSD as the relationship between product or service value and environmental influence. Indicators that are generally applicable to the environmental influence of product/service creation include energy and materials and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance emissions. WBCSD considers acidification emissions and total waste could be added if agreement could be found on how to measure them. Business specific indicators are individually defined for different sectors in order to make the framework flexible enough to find wide acceptance and be easily interpreted.

The WBCSD lays claim to inventing the concept of eco-efficiency in 1992 and has been championing the cause through its European eco-efficiency initiative (EEEI). Last year, the group called on the European Commission to draft an EU action plan for eco-efficiency (ENDS Daily 8 December 1999).

Follow Up:
WBCSD, tel: +41 22 839 3100, and the report: "Measuring eco-efficiency: {a guide to reporting company performance}".

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