Sustainability, wellbeing, hope: The new measures of business success

Marketing News

As attitudes change, brands old and new are changing the way they measure corporate success, with non-financial KPIs becoming an increasingly important part of the mix.


From the Chinese Wei Dynasty rating the performance of the royal family in the 3rd century; to a 13th-century Venetian merchant sailing vessel monitoring the efficiency of buying and selling goods; to a 19th-century Scottish miller putting different coloured wooden cubes on workers’ desks: humans have been measuring performance for millennia.

It was not until the 20th century that businesses started to develop and implement much more sophisticated metrics and frameworks, which are now more commonly known as key performance indicators (KPIs).

Most brands have been governed by metrics linked to their financial performance and customer growth. But this is starting to change.

Increasingly, organisations are judging their success on metrics that are not directly linked to traditional business performance, such as sustainability, diversity and employee wellbeing. Some are even looking to put a KPI on ‘hope’.

Mars has recently made sustainability a key business measure with metrics as “detailed and sophisticated” as they would be with regard to its profit and loss.

“It is very much built in our business operations,” says Mars’s vice president of corporate affairs, strategic initiatives and sustainability, Andy Pharoah.

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