Indicators and measurements

Indicators and measurements

Information on all of the Sustainability Initiative indicators and metrics, including updates, is provided on this website, www.sjalfbaerni.is (www.sustainability.is). Indeed, the main part of the URL, sjálfbærni, means sustainability in Icelandic. Most of the indicators are updated annually, but in some cases this occurs less often, for instance with indicators that measure gradual developments. Every indicator has its own website page where its baseline and the reasons for selecting that indicator are presented, as well as the monitoring plan for that indicator, monitoring results, and in many cases references to additional related material.  

As of July 2015, the Sustainability Initiative indicators numbered 46; however, many of them include more than one type of measurement, so that the metrics at that time totaled 78.

The data sources for particular indicators may vary, some of them being official figures from Statistics Iceland, annual journals of the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, or other official collections of data. Landsvirkjun and Alcoa are also sources of information, for instance on their finances and personnel.

For each indicator, a specified individual within or outside of the two companies serves as the one in charge and is normally an expert in that field. S/he is responsible for delivering the latest information on this indicator to Sustainability Initiative employees. When such data has appeared on the Initiative website, s/he is also responsible for ensuring that this data is correctly presented. Furthermore, the website shows the sources on which the presented data is based.

What are indicators?

An indicator, referred to in Icelandic as a vísir, is a kind of yardstick, criterion or value which clarifies developments or changes. Indicators are used for communicating information simply and plainly.

  • Since its dimensions are defined, an indicator provides a means of monitoring changes over a certain period. For example, it might illustrate fluctuations in the population of a particular area during that period.
  • Complex processes which are difficult to explain may become more comprehensible and evident through the use of indicators.
  • An indicator must have a scientific basis and be sensitive to change.
  • Rather than saying whether a particular trend is good or bad, right or wrong, an indicator reveals what changes are occurring.
  • A good indicator may denote that a problem is present before it becomes insurmountable, and may help to diagnose and solve the problem.
  • Indicators serve to communicate information on developments in a plain, simple manner.