A new period is now emerging. A period in which society demands that companies pay attention to the social and environmental, as well as the economic, results of their actions. A period when companies must earn their societal license to operate and will increasingly be judged by the corporate values they stand for and by which they operate. It is a period that calls for new strategies.
But how does a manager know what this means for his company? What kind of information does he/she need in order to make decisions? One way to cope with the new strategies is to develop and use eco-indicators for strategic management. Eco-indicators enable managers to monitor the results of measures, communicate about the companys environmental performance and compare its performance with other companies. This makes eco-indicators an ideal instrument to support the strategic decision-making process and a useful compass on the road to sustainability.
TNO, a Dutch based research Institute, published the paper "The fourth generation, new strategies call for new eco-indicators".
The word generation emphasises the evolutionary nature of the complexity and depth of environmental strategies and the eco-indicators that result from them. Because companies are facing new challenges in relation to sustainability they will need new strategies and new eco-indicators. TNO-Institute for Strategy, Technology and Policy is working on a methodology to develop these new eco-indicators. This paper elaborates on the results of a literature study, our experience in the field of strategic management and several other projects we have carried out on this subject.
The three key questions discussed in this paper are:
· What are the characteristics of the fourth generation of environmental strategies?
· What kind of eco-indicators will be suitable for the new challenge?
· How can these new indicators be developed?