How Sustainable Efforts Should Be Measured



How Sustainable Efforts Should Be Measured

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Talking about sustainability in a public forum is easy to do. It’s an attractive topic that lures people and companies in to get attention. While there are many companies setting goals to be net zero at some point in the future, there are those who simply throw a bunch of jargon into their marketing efforts. 

In fact, the many confusing net zero definitions are exactly what pushed us to join Amazon and +100 companies to have a more concentrated effort around our collective commitment to climate change. With this group effort in Amazon’s The Climate Pledge, we’re now fully committed to reaching the Paris Agreement 10 years early through real business changes to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

But first, let’s back up a moment— what exactly is “net zero?” Is it just another buzz word that means nothing? Or is it a concept that will help companies move their sustainability needles forward?

Net zero is when greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity reaches zero or below. Typically, this is done through reducing those emissions and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Here at Iron Mountain, we wanted to speak to companies who were not only talking the sustainability and environmentally friendly talk but also walking the walk

This spring, we co-hosted an Insurance Sustainability Roundtable with Sustainable Brands. Sitting on the roundtable were some heavy hitters who fit the sustainability friendly bill. Each participant received a sustainability assessment that would provide them with an analysis and score to provide an overall benchmark comparing their efforts to others in the industry. 

In most cases, it took folks 30 minutes or less to complete the assessment. Most of the feedback was positive saying there was a lot to learn just from thinking about the questions. In this assessment, companies were measured on the following areas:


Depending on the level of sustainability, here are the rankings they could receive: 

  • Level 1: Conventional

  • Level 2: Getting Started

  • Level 3: Promising Progress

  • Level 4: Emerging Leader

  • Level 5 Sustainable Brand

Surprisingly, most of these companies ranked their sustainability characteristics low on everything except for governance. Internally, they were moving in the right direction but weren’t making headway externally.

In your company’s quest to become a more sustainable brand, Iron Mountain recommends that you consider the following four pillars as you work toward becoming a net zero company: 

  • Stop the creation of paper

  • Tackle the paper you already have

  • Harness value from unlocked data

  • Manage implications throughout the organization

While the first two pillars will help companies reduce costs and physical infrastructure, the latter ones will drive positive impact and create value. Here at Iron Mountain, we’ve put together an Ecosystem Thinking approach to help our customers in their journey to net zero: 

When we reconnected with our roundtable in May, we talked about ways they themselves and companies like theirs could continue to elevate sustainability efforts across the board. It’s an ongoing process that organizations big and small will continue to pursue for the foreseeable future. 

To start your net zero journey today, please contact us for more information:


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