New Bottom Line Volume 4.4 -Rating your company's EQE

February 20, 1995

Here’s a simple checklist for rating your company’s EQE–environmental quality and efficiency. Why EQE? Because regulatory compliance isn’t enough any more, especially for companies that trade internationally. Leading edge companies can’t settle for the lowest common denominator any more. They have to meet the standard set by their strongest competitor.

This checklist is not meant to be authoritative, since there are many more questions that could be considered. It’s purpose, rather, is to give you a simple rating on some key issues, and to give you a framework for thinking about how to improve your EQE–and your business.

[ ] We are aware of all environmental regulations that apply to our company.
[ ] We are in compliance with all applicable regulations.
[ ] We have information/calendar systems to ensure we file all requirements on time.
[ ] We conduct regular internal audits to ensure continued compliance.
[ ] Compliance is a key factor in our managers’ performance evaluation and compensation.

[ ] We have conducted an energy efficiency audit within the last three years.
[ ] We have conducted other resource efficiency audits (water, waste minimization, etc)
[ ] We have installed energy efficient lighting, HVAC, controllers wherever economical
[ ] We have qualified for utility company rebates for resource efficient retrofits and design.
[ ] We measure resource efficiency–eg, energy used per dollar of output, or pounds of waste per pound of product–as a key management indicator

[ ] We systematically include environmental quality as as design factor in product design.
[ ] We consider the environmental impact of both the production and the use of our product or service.
[ ] We incorporate EQE criteria in facilities design.
[ ] We design our packaging to minimize waste and maximize reusability.
[ ] We take responsibility for recycling or disposal of our product at the end of its useful life.

[ ] We recycle “waste”–eg production waste (trim, by-products), packaging, office waste–as a regular (not ad hoc) activity.
[ ] We actively/systematically identify productive internal uses for waste generated
[ ] We participate in a regional “Waste Exchange” program, either as supplier or user of secondary materials.
[ ] We have set (and are meeting) quantitative–and incremental–targets for waste reduction & pollution prevention.
[ ] We have set a long-term goal of zero emissions from our operations.

[ ] We have established and implemented a “buy recycled” policy specifying recycled content in procurement of paper products (office paper, packaging, etc).
[ ] We have established and implemented a “buy recycled” policy specifying recycled content in procurement of product feedstock.
[ ] We work with our vendors to “design out” hazardous materials and improve overall EQE.
[ ] We provide our environmental quality standards to our vendors, and make environmental quality a factor in vendor selection
[ ] We monitor our vendors for environmental quality (with checklists, audits or other means.)

[ ] We have an environmental policy–and make it available to all employees.
[ ] We have–and use–formal information systems for ensuring compliance–with both regulations and with company policies.
[ ] We incorporate “eco-efficiency” reporting into our management information systems (MIS).
[ ] We regularly benchmark our EQE against industry averages–and industry leaders.
[ ] We provide regular staff training in pollution prevention and other EQE concerns.

To score your company, give yourself three points for each item you checked, and a bonus of five points for each category in which you checked all five choices.

How well are doing? If your score totals 100-120, you rate a “A.” You’re leading the pack–(and you don’t need me to tell you that you can’t rest on your laurels). If you scored 80-100, give yourself a B+. You’re doing very well, and probably have a consistent, balanced program; there’s some room for improvement, and a platform for making that improvement. A score of 60-80 earns a B–you’re on the right track, but it may be time to weave your isolated efforts into a coordinated program. If your score totals 40-60, you earn a C; give yourself credit for making a good start–and reread the checklist to pick the next area for improvement. If you scored below 40… well, it’s time to put EQE on management’s agenda.

Whether you use a simple checklist like this one, make an informal internal scan of your EQE, or conduct a formal EcoAudit, a periodic look at these questions can save your company money, minimize regulatory headaches and even improve your competitive position.

Do you need an even simpler checklist? Try this one:

  • Is your company in compliance with applicable regulations everywhere it operates–and is it in compliance with its own standards (which should be tougher than government standards)?
  • Does it operate at maximum “ecoefficiency”–making the most efficient use possible of energy and resources?
  • Does it systematically make EQE a source of strategic advantage, rather than just another thing to pay attention to?

(c) 1995 Gil Friend. All rights reserved.

New Bottom Line is published periodically by Natural Logic, offering decision support software and strategic consulting that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise.

Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is President and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc.

May be posted intact–including this notice–in any non-commercial forum.
Please inquire at “reprint_rights at natlogic dot com” before reproduction in any commercial forum.