Successful sustainability plans require establishing clear Objectives, Goals, and Metrics.  This will enable a company to monitor performance, assess progress, and make adjustments to the plan as needed.

  • Objectives are intended actions or outcomes.  These are based on a company’s material issues.
  • Goals are measurable actions to achieve the Objective. Goals should be SMART – simple, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
  • Metrics are specific measurements or other expressions of performance for each Goal.





Reduce energy use

Reduce use by 15% in 5 years

kWh per year

Improve community outreach

Increase employee volunteers by 25% in 5 years

Number of employees participating as volunteers


Examples of some of the sustainability topics and associated metrics used by Food Northwest members can be found here.

Practical application of planning, use of metrics, and tracking of progress, that are relevant to various sustainability topics, are discussed in the following presentations from the 2014 Sustainability Summit:

Tracking Energy Usage”, Uli Schildt, Energy Engineer, Darigold, Inc.

The Energy behind Setting an Aggressive Goal”, Don Sturtevant, Director of Energy, J.R. Simplot Company

Energy Goal Setting and Tracking Progress to Goal”, John Thornton, CleanFuture


The Metrics Navigator, Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI).  This tool presents a thorough, six-step process to select, implement and evaluate a set of critical metrics that focus on an organization’s success.