Industrial sustainability performance measurement systems: A novel framework

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Cleaner Production, 2019, 230 pp. 1354 - 1375
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Improved sustainability of industrial activities and measurement of its performance are becoming prime topics of discussion among policy-makers and industrial decision-makers. The current literature proposes a number of performance measurement systems and related indicators, but mainly lacks a real capability to address all sustainability pillars and their intersections, as well as scalability to firms of different sizes, availability of internal resources, and maturity over sustainability issues, suggesting that further research is needed in this area. Building on the literature, our work develops a new framework for the evaluation of industrial sustainability performance, proposing three different Industrial Sustainability Performance Measurement Systems (ISPMSs), with a decreasing number of indicators suitable in different contexts of application. In the framework, selection mechanisms have been conceived and used to reduce the number of indicators considered, while still guaranteeing complete and adequate coverage of all sustainability pillars, as well as their intersections. The framework has been tested through semi-structured case studies in heterogeneous Northern Italian manufacturing firms. The preliminary results are sound as the different ISPMSs proved to be complete, useful, and easy to use. The proposed ISPMSs provide industrial decision-makers with a scalable framework applicable in different contexts, allowing benchmarking and development of specific implementation strategies for increased sustainability, and provide policy-makers with a framework to develop a more effective regulatory policy, better understanding how sustainability performance can be addressed in an integrated manner across industrial firms.
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