While program and project managers agree that metrics are important in measuring project success, identifying and selecting meaningful sustainability criteria can be challenging. Metrics are important because they provide clarity about key goals, shed light on progress, and lead to process and behavior change. The saying, “That which gets measured, gets changed,” provides the foundation for the value of metrics in sustainability. Of course, the act of knowing doesn’t necessarily translate into meaningful sustainability changes. The process is complex and requires senior management buy-in and commitment to organizational sustainability and support for programs and projects to drive the transformation.
Often, sustainability-related projects begin with “feel good” aspirations rather than tangible businessrelated metrics. While the intentions are admirable, projects with vague goals don’t flourish because no one understands what constitutes a successful outcome, the organizational benefits, and their roles in the process. In order to create a successful sustainability program, clear and meaningful organizational goals must be established. A process must be agreed on to gather data and establish a baseline, and then identify and measure key performance indicators (KPIs). Developing sustainability programs and projects and reporting on progress with industry-accepted materiality standards provides for meaningful engagement with both internal and external stakeholders. Goals and metrics provide project managers with a vital communication tool to convey project direction, demonstrate progress, and align team members’ actions and behaviors.