Mainstreaming the environment? The third sector and environmental performance management

Third sector organisations (TSOs) are increasingly seeking to find ways in which their performance can be evaluated, in order to demonstrate the value of their activities. While the focus has been predominantly on the analysis of their social benefits, there is increasing awareness that the third sector needs to better consider its environmental impact. This has been given increased momentum by the publication of Shaping Our Future: The Joint Ministerial and Third Sector Task Force Report on Climate Change, the Environment and Sustainable Development in March 2010.

Given the prominence of environmental issues in recent years, it is disarming to discover that there is only a limited literature on how TSOs evaluate their environmental performance. In an attempt to develop a more systematic approach to this field of study, this paper provides a brief summary of the tools that are currently available to TSOs to evaluate their environmental performance. It offers an analytical framework for understanding and evaluating the variety of tools and outlines an agenda for field research on understanding the application of such tools in practice.

Research contacts:

  • Dr Rebecca Edwards
  • Professor Graham Smith
  • Dr Milena Büchs