Setting Objectives, Targets and Key Performance Indicators

In general terms objectives describe the overall intent and are underpinned by a suite a targets with measurable outcomes. The KPI is what is measured.

The starting point for setting targets is previous performance. If nothing additional is done the set target should reflect previous performance. The set target must be achievable with effort and not wishful thinking. In some cases the effect of a technical improvement may be relatively easy to gauge. This would include examples such as:

  • Installation of a silencer of known or guaranteed attenuation capacity on noisy equipment. The degree of reduction in lease boundary noise levels can then be calculated.
  • Improvements in energy efficiency due to the installation of more efficient electrical machinery such as pumps. The energy reduction expected can then be calculated.
  • Installation of a lined pond to fully contain all storm-water draining the site. A target such as all site storm-water will be contained can then be set with confidence it will be met.

Activity targets are also relatively straightforward to set as long as the resources are available and include examples such as:

  • 100% of employees to receive an environmental induction or re-induction in the following year.
  • 10,000 seedlings to be planted in the next year.
  • one technical article per month to be contributed to the site newsletter.
  • one nomination for an environmental excellence award to be submitted.

Great caution should be exercised in setting hopeful targets that cannot be guaranteed. It may be tempting to set them but they are best avoided. These targets would include:

  • Zero community complaints in the next year.
  • Win a major environmental excellence award in the next 12 months.
  • No compliance breaches.
  • No serious environmental incidents.

These could in fact be classified as objectives. The probability of meeting them can be influenced but success is never going to be guaranteed.