We love to share interesting and useful insights about environmental data management. Here’s an article that was posted on Environmental Leader that has a slightly different approach to data management than we’ve featured or written about here before, but one that could prove to be very useful when it comes to talking about environmental projects with your CEO and other executives.
It proposes that environmental data, like water consumption and tons of air emissions, isn’t communicated in a way that most decision makers can put into context and use to implement key policy changes.
Their solution is to develop a mathematical system of converting this type of data into a more context-heavy and referential unit of measurement:
“For instance, businesses might transform each domain-specific resource into the energy used to create that resource. This can then expressed in terms of what we call Energy Points, using the equivalent of the embodied energy of a gallon of gasoline as a unit and factoring in local parameters such as water scarcity. So instead of wondering what is the relative importance of 1,000 kgal and 1,000 kWh, businesses can simply treat each domain like Weight Watcher’s treats calories – based on efficiency points. This is one way we collapse Big Data to a common metric to address resource consumption decisions.”
Writer Dr. Ory Zik also draws a comparison with sustainability reporting and planning as well, noting that manufacturers and environmental specialists are still hammering out a consistent methodology:
“This is also the biggest problem plaguing sustainability reporting – the lack of a common, universally accepted language for environmental sustainability that serves as a common denominator for comparing projects in different domains.”
We’ve covered the issue of measuring and reporting corporate sustainability on this blog too, suggesting different ways this hurdle could be overcome and highlighting the efforts currently underway to create a standardized methodology for sustainability reporting.
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You can read the entire article on Environmental Leader here. Check it out, and while you’re at it subscribe to our blog.
About the Author: Alex Chamberlain is a writer and blogger who regularly contributes to ERA Environmental Management Solutions' blog. You can find Alex on Google+, LinkedIn & ERA's Environmental Compliance Blog