Environmental standards are by nature not different from financial goals. The purpose of both is to measure the concrete results of the company’s production in the different areas. But even though it’s easy to assert that financial and environmental goals are interdependent, there is one fundamental difference. The financial goals have developed through decades or even ages while environmental standards are a relatively new phenomenon. Businesses didn’t start setting environmental standards and priorities until around 1996 when the ISO 14001 standard was first approved. This fundamental difference between financial and environmental goals is, however, of a great practical significance.

The fiscal accounting of companies usually aim at managing in an accessible manner the key financial figures. The systems are constructed so that all the most relevant financial information can be derived from the system in order to strengthen the company’s position in the world of strong competition. Environmental information is by default not incorporated into the information systems of companies as financial information is. To define environmental standards and goals is actually not difficult as such. The complexity arises when figuring out how and where to collect environmental information from the company’s information system.

As environmental information is often somewhat limited, there is a general tendency to measure those environmental factors that can be measured instead of measuring those factors that are critical. The basis for all standards and goals is to know the basic position before the standards and goals are put forward. Without knowing the current position it is very difficult to know whether specific goals have been met or standards have been fulfilled.

Not knowing the current position is probably the most common mistake companies make when defining their environmental goals. The goals often become nothing else than a pretty purpose without possible verification of whether they have been reached or not. A basic precondition for all goal making is to define the current position before the goals and standards are defined.

See “The Nature of Good Environmental Standards“.

Grafik: Guðrún Tryggvadóttir and Signý Kolbeinsdóttir ©Nature.is

Oct. 26, 2014
Finnur Sveinsson
Finnur Sveinsson „Hvað eru umhverfisviðmið?“, Náttúran.is: Oct. 26, 2014 URL: http://nature.is/d/2007/05/27/umhverfisvimi/ [Skoðað:May 17, 2021]
Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
skrifað: May 27, 2007
breytt: Oct. 26, 2014