Sustainability benchmarking tool (SBT): theoretical and conceptual model proposition of a composite framework

Abstract

Sustainable development and sustainability notions are among trending topics of twenty-first century. Elevated sustainability concerns of various stakeholders have been forcing members of all industries to evolve into their more environmentally and socially responsible versions. However, a complete framework with a true sustainability and benchmarking focus is yet to be delivered. Within this study, an innovative, holistic, versatile and scalable tool was developed to assess and benchmark sustainability performance of organizations and supply chains. The proposed framework was established upon trivet structure of triple bottom line philosophy and fueled by lean, Six Sigma and life cycle analysis methodologies for accurate and effective measurement of sustainability performance. Completeness of the framework was ensured through development of first-generation key performance indicator pool with 33 indicators, a unique work environment assessment mechanism for safety and environmental protection issues in terms of 11 risk categories and by construction of an ownership structure for ease of framework deployment. Proposed framework is expected to help with true sustainability performance improvement and benchmarking objectives at a range of business levels from facility to sectoral operations. Both small- and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations could benefit from SBT Framework since it eliminates unit-based comparisons within its standardized performance measurement modules. Industries with lower profit margins could also gain competitive edge through continuous discovery of improvement opportunities. Furthermore, some manufacturing industries with unique characteristics such as wood products industries with their carbon sequestration potential and electric car manufacturers with their renewable energy-dependent final products could document their strengths more effectively through this science-based assessment mechanism.

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Appendix 1

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Table 4 First-generation KPI Pools with Simplified Formulas

Appendix 2: WERAR Module Audit Form

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Tasdemir, C., Gazo, R. & Quesada, H.J. Sustainability benchmarking tool (SBT): theoretical and conceptual model proposition of a composite framework. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 6755–6797 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-019-00512-3

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Keywords

  • Triple bottom line
  • Lean management
  • Sustainability
  • Six Sigma
  • Sustainable development
  • Composite framework