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To measure progress in sustainability, key performance indicators (KPIs) and associated metrics can be selected for each sustainability goal and/or practice. In many cases, appropriate KPIs and metrics are already being measured or can be easily modified to quantify achievements in sustainability. Incorporating sustainability KPIs and metrics into existing business practices or initiative-specific action and monitoring plans can help your organization seamlessly integrate sustainability into its culture and day-to-day operations. The following steps can be used to evaluate and select KPIs and metrics.

#1 Existing KPIs and Metrics

Identify existing KPIs and metrics that are already being measured that can apply to the sustainability goals or practice. For example, if a goal is to reduce energy use and the airport is already tracking electricity use in kilowatt-hours and natural gas and petroleum use in MMBTU, then these can be useful indicators and metrics.

#2 Commonly Used KPIs and Metrics

Evaluate commonly used indicators from such sources as:

During the evaluation, determine which KPIs make sense for each sustainability goal. It is often helpful to start with a long list of all possible KPIs for each goal and then narrow them down or modify them to further fit the needs of the sustainability program.

#3 Airport KPIs and Metrics

Determining metrics that will help to customize the results to be facility-specific is an important step. Common airport factors include “per passenger”, “per operation”, “per project” and “per square foot”. For example, water use may be measured in “gallons per passenger” to capture fluctuations in air travel. Electricity use may be measured in “kWh/square foot” to measure the effectiveness of energy conservation programs. Stakeholder engagement may be measured in “number of community meetings/project” to capture the level of activity of the airport for the year.

#4 Action and Monitoring Plans

After KPIs and metrics are determined for each goal or practice, develop Action and Monitoring Plans. These plans layout the action items needed to successfully implement a sustainability program. Plans can include the people who are accountable for implementation and monitoring, the schedule, the milestones, and the resource needs. Download an example template for Action and Monitoring Plans that can be used as a starting point.


A common way to evaluate and select KPIs and metrics is to create a matrix like the one shown below. Download the SAGA Indicators Microsoft Excel file that contains potential KPIs as a starting point (although note that this information does not contain all potential indicators).

Measure graphic