Environmental Impact Measurement

The performance measurement looking for environmental sustainability has been a major problem for companies. In many cases, these are the minimum standards. According to Hart and Milstein (2003), companies have to become proactive and extend the normative and independent control mechanisms, trying to promote effective sustainability that encompasses the well-being and needs of different stakeholders.

The pro-active activities proposed and implemented need to be measured adequately. This means using an appropriate set of indicators (Giljum et al., 2011). This measurement has several advantages, among them, the characterization of costs associated with environmental practices and the evaluation of their efficiency (Diabat & Govindan, 2011; Zhu et ah, 2008), as well as economic, environmental and social responsibility benefits, differentiation in the market and others granted in the regulations (Eltayeb et ah, 2011). For this reason, it is important to find a strategy to deal effectively with sustainable performance on companies (Atkinson et ah, 1997; Neely et ah, 2002; and Epstein, 2008).

There are several definitions of Environmental Performance Indicators or E.P.I.s. Henri and Journeault (2008) state that E.P.I.s represent numerical measures. These measures provide crucial material on environmental impact and compliance with internal and external policies. A more complete definition is provided by Hourneaux et ah (2014), who define E.P.I. as an interior process and a management tool to determine if the environmental performance is according to established ranges. E.P.I.s represent qualitative and quantitative measurements.

Currently, exist several E.P.I.s in the literature consulted, which involve different measurement approaches depending on who is doing the environmental measurement, i.e., state agencies or academics (Petrovic et ah, 2012). Some indicators of state and non-governmental agencies have been developed by recognised organisations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Resources Institute (W.R.I.) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (O.E.C.D.).

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