How do you measure the benefits of a sustainable development approach?

This past spring, EEM hosted a half-day training for the business community as part of Les Grandes Conférences Les Affaires, on a process to use to measure and report the benefits of adopting a sustainable development approach.

Approach and Solution

Participants were already familiar with the concepts of sustainable development but were looking for ways to demonstrate the benefits of adopting a sustainable development approach for their businesses.

EEM broke down the process into a series of questions:

For whom are you measuring? An exercise to identify your stakeholders and their principal concerns.
How can you bring that down to something manageable? An exercise to assess the materiality of issues to measure and report on.
How do you measure? A presentation of different types of indicators and questions related to quality of information, comparability, measurement over time, normalization, using dashboards, etc.
Is it enough? An exploration on whether reporting on the companies key performance indicators is sufficient. Adopting a sustainable development approach also involves measuring externalities, bringing them to the attention of decision-makers and mitigating risks.
What communication tools can be used? Insights into adapting information and communication tools for different audiences and stakeholder groups.


The workshop succeeded in getting participants to think about the big picture when developing their sustainable development performance indicators and provided insight on presenting a strong business case for adopting a sustainable development approach. Participants expressed appreciation for the experiences shared by the facilitators and for the frank discussion.

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