How to produce an environmental report

Environmental key performance indicators

Environmental key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantitative measures - ie actual numbers - that put values on a business' environmental performance.

Most businesses will already have facts and figures they can use to produce environmental KPIs, such as:

  • energy bills
  • water bills
  • purchasing records
  • vehicle fuel use or vehicle mileage figures
  • waste management bills
  • travel receipts

In addition to the value itself, a KPI should be accompanied by information on why it was included, ie its purpose and impact, how the information was obtained and calculated, and if any assumptions were made.

Comparing environmental KPIs

You should report data in a comparable format, so that your performance can be assessed over time and against other businesses. Even if you collect and publish your data on a per site or per division basis, KPIs should also be expressed in terms that cover the entire business for the period of the report, which is usually annually. This makes it easier to make meaningful comparisons with other businesses and against previous years.

In order for your KPIs to be comparable, you should also use measurements that are standard across your business sector. For example, an office-based business might report on tonnes of carbon emitted per million pounds of turnover, whereas a manufacturing business might report on per product or per tonne of product.

Choosing environmental KPIs

The government has produced a list of 22 environmental KPIs that are relevant to UK businesses. These are under the following four headings:

  • emissions to air
  • emissions to water
  • emissions to land
  • resource use

You can download the full list of environmental KPIs (PDF, 354K).

You should report on KPIs that you are both directly and indirectly responsible for. For example, you should report the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from your electricity use, as well as the amount actually emitted directly from your own premises. You could even report on your supply chain's KPIs.

You may want to think about other ways that your business impacts on the environment, such as:

  • light
  • heat
  • noise
  • smell
  • vibration
  • electromagnetic radiation
  • visual impact