Sustainability Metrics

Lead PI: Dr. Steven Alan Cohen , Satyajit Bose , Dr. Dong Guo

Unit Affiliation: Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management (SPM)

Unknown start date - Ongoing
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Led by Dr. Steven Cohen and Dr. Satyajit Bose, the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management has been engaged in an ongoing study and evaluation of the current measures of sustainability performance and impact measurement at the organizational, local, national and global level, with the ultimate goal of developing generally accepted measures of the physical dimensions of sustainability. / In the first stage of our research, we conducted a thorough investigation of “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) metrics, analyzing the indicators, frameworks and standards used by organizations to measure, assess, compare, and report on sustainability across industries and sectors, yielding a database of nearly 600 distinct sustainability indicators. We also performed an evaluation of 129 indices in total, an assessment of sustainability platforms and frameworks, as well as research to analyze the link between progress on sustainability or investment in sustainability initiatives with financial performance.

OUTCOMES: Using this preliminary research, we will attempt to identify a core group of metrics that are formative in nature and have the potential to become generally accepted sustainability indicators with the legitimacy of generally accepted accounting principles. We aim to generate new data on the landscape of sustainability metrics and new data on the aggregation and weighting of these indicators, as well as provide further understanding of the role of sustainability in management decision-making by improving our knowledge of the methods and measures of sustainability initiatives. This project will advance the decision-making tools, models and frameworks available to a variety of stakeholders who are eager to incorporate sustainability into their management practices. Furthermore, convergence on a set of generally accepted sustainability metrics will drive momentum toward a pivot in organizational focus from reporting, disclosure and transparency towards uncovering real opportunity, competitive advantage and financial and non-financial benefits of sustainability. The long-term goal of this study is to serve as foundation to inform the discussion of a global network of scholars and practitioners.


Alison Miller, Kelsie DeFrancia, Maureen Loman, Olin Berger, Wen Qiu, Meiyi Chen, Brian Filiatraut, Chenghang Zhang


White Paper #1: The Growth of Sustainability Metrics

White Paper #2: Measuring and Reporting Sustainability

White Paper #3: Assessing Sustainability: Frameworks and Indices


metrics sustainability sustainability indicators esg indicators


Sustainable living