Developing an Environmental Performance Index (EPI): a focus on impacts of information and communication technology use.
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There is a growing need for environmental performance measures that can be used by all stakeholders like surrounding communities, customers, suppliers and shareholders to gauge the environmental performance of organizations. The environmental performance measures that are used worldwide are normally not suitable for benchmarking organizations. This paper develops an environmental performance index using indicator and weight matrices of the full life cycle phases of an organization’s energy use for environmental management system activities. This work is transdisciplinary in nature and applies mathematical matrices and environmental productivity approaches, and borrows from the development of quality indices to consider a variety of impacts that cut across various phases of a product life cycle and different functions within an organization. The focus is on information and communication technology use in these systems. The model is applied to the Japanese automotive industry and the findings show that it is feasible and effective for comparing the environmental performance of companies in the same sector using the same weight matrices and indicators agreed to. The work informs decision making on the development of environmental performance measures that have worldwide applications, across many disciplines, in situations where suitable data are recorded. It also contributes to efforts on economic and social sustainability. Research efforts in similar areas in Southern Africa can benefit from the development and improvement of the proposed methodology.