VIEWS: The Value of Benchmarking

From SSC President Jennifer Woofter

One of my favorite SSC engagements is sustainability training—especially the 2-day Greening Your Organization class that I give about twice a year at the NeighborWorks Training Institute. In the class, participants learn how to measure their organization’s carbon footprint, how to identify their key environmental impacts and stakeholders, and how to create a strategic “green plan” for their organization.

Packed into those 2 days are a lot of tips, tricks, and lessons about greening an organization. But the one that I repeat ad nauseum is MEASURE BEFORE YOU ACT. I’ve seen clients make huge mistakes by jumping to the “goal setting” part of sustainability before they truly understand their carbon footprint, or by going public with a few “success stories” before they have looked at their entire scope of operations. It’s a recipe for disaster, let me assure you.

Today, I read a great article on Triplepundit.com by guest blogger Scott Johnson called Management Motivation 101: Benchmarking.

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement, particularly as it relates to sustainability: unless you have a good idea of what a sustainable version of your organization might look like, you may have some trouble getting there. But the problem cuts both ways. What if you don’t know how you stack up regarding your sustainability efforts? So a variant on that statement could be, “If you don’t know where you’re starting from, you might not find the right path on the road to sustainability.”

Read the entire article here – he makes some amazing points, and I couldn’t have said it any better myself.