Why Don’t More Companies have Climate Stabilization Intensity Targets?

I have written a number of times before about how I think measurement can undermine sustainability. I had the opportunity to give a presentation on the topic at the State of Green Business Forum in DC a couple of months back.

In the end I touched only briefly on some of the ways that measurement can mislead. It turned out that the guidelines for the presentation were to present one big idea.  As I say near the beginning, I didn’t want to present one big gripe, so I focused most of my presentation on BT’s Climate Stabilization Intensity target, which I think is a great example of a measurement and targeting model that doesn’t mislead. Furthermore, it sets a target that is related both to solving the problem and to enabling economic growth. I wrote more about it in this post.

We launched this approach about two years ago now and I have presented it at many conferences and received many compliments for it (on behalf of BT of course) but in that time I am aware of only two companies, Autodesk and EMC, who have done anything similar.

If it is as good an idea as I think it is, why have so few companies followed suit?

I can think of a couple of reasons;

  • It is sophisticated, and so harder to explain than an absolute target, or an intensity target related to say revenue – so it doesn’t capture the imagination.
  • It has the word ‘intensity’ in it. Intensity targets without any context,  can hide a multitude of sins.

I would welcome any other ideas you have on why more companies haven’t gone this route,  but please, no solicitation calls – I am on the cheap here and seeking free advice!



  1. Comments 1

  2. Kathrin Winkler 10:12 am on May 15, 2011

    Perhaps this is a subset of the complexity issue, but it also has to be adjusted periodically to reflect real results or material changes to forecasts. Definitely tricky. Of course, things are changing so quickly in both the economy and the climate, that I daresay *all* targets should be revisited periodically...

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