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Institutionalizing Sustainability Performance Metrics. Smart & Sustainable Campuses Conference 2013 Presented by Keri Enright-Kato Yale Office of Sustainability. Indicator

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Institutionalizing sustainability performance metrics

Institutionalizing Sustainability Performance Metrics

Smart & Sustainable Campuses Conference 2013

Presented by

Keri Enright-Kato

Yale Office of Sustainability


Signal that reveals progress (or lack thereof) towards objectives; means of measuring what actually happens against what has been planned in terms of quantity, quality and timeliness. An indicator is a quantitative or qualitative variable that provides a simple and reliable basis for assessing achievement, change or performance.

Source: Handbook on monitoring and evaluating for results. UNDP, Evaluation Office, New York, 2002.


Standard of measurement

Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary

Selecting meaningful sustainability indicators
Selecting Meaningful Sustainability Indicators

Five Key Questions:

What is your intended sustainable outcome? What do you value?

Do the indicators you’ve selected measure progress toward your goal/outcome?

Is your indicator clear and easy to understand?

Is the indicator based on accessible data?

Are you collecting too many indicators?

Selecting meaningful sustainability indica tors
Selecting Meaningful Sustainability Indicators

Objective and verifiable metrics that are represented by a number. Typically easier to collect. i.e. campus greenhouse gas emissions.


An indirect measure that can represent the impact. i.e. Number of people that subscribe to our campaign emails or number of green office certifications indicate levels of engagement.


Often considered unverifiable and subjective. However, if properly developed and interpreted, qualitative indicators play a significant role in identifying constraints to implementation and obstacles to success, which may not be readily apparent. i.e. conducting focus groups with targeted questions leading to insightful responses.


Yale university sustainability metrics timeline
Yale University: Sustainability Metrics Timeline

First Progress Report &

Transition metrics to a cloud based data software program

Yale Office of Sustainability Founded

Formal analysis of trends presented to AVP of Facilities







Metric collection commences

Sustainability Strategic Plan Developed

Second Progress Report and Strategic Plan 2.0

Yale Office of Sustainability







Tips for standardizing the data collection process
Tips for Standardizing the Data Collection Process

Face to Face Meeting

Email Request

Automated System


Communicating metrics campaigns posters fact sheets
Communicating Metrics: Campaigns, Posters, & Fact Sheets

Communicating Progress: Annual Progress Report