Module 4: Performance

“In God we trust, all others bring data.”

– W. Edwards Deming

What is a performance measurement system?

This module will help you to assess how an organization is performing against its intended actions. Companies use performance measurement systems, also called scorecards, to collect data that they feel are important not only for their own self-assessment but also for their stakeholders’ assessment of sustainability performance.

For sustainability reporting, a performance measurement system includes the complete set of metrics (indicators) used to quantify how well an organization fulfilled its responsibilities in terms of three dimensions: economic, social, and environmental.

A performance measurement system is similar to the instrument panel on an automobile. It focuses your attention on parts of the system that may not be working properly. Red lights suggest that attention is needed.

There are many different ways for an organization to report its performance. This module covers the following topics:

What Happens in Practice?

Scorecards can be used to inform managers and external stakeholders about an organizations sustainability progress.

Ford concisely presents its performance metrics in the three dimensions of economy/quality, environment, and society for three years. This scorecard is used as an introduction to the auto maker’s sustainability report, which covers its worldwide operations. Click here to view.
In contrast to a three-year scorecard, BHP Billiton, a global resources company, presents one year of information but provides signs of progress against its targets, which helps the reader interpret the information. Click here to view.