2014 Report Card methodology

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The 2012 Green Provincial Report Card was last published in the Spring 2012 issue of Corporate Knights magazine. This 2014 report is the latest in what is currently a bi-annual research series. While the past focus on Canada made sense, given that Corporate Knights is a Canadian magazine based in Toronto, we have attempted over the past two years to be more be representative of the North American market while keeping tabs on global trends and events.

With this in mind, it was decided this year to expand our green report card beyond Canadian provinces by also doing a separate report on 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia. To do this required a streamlining of our methodology to capture comparable data from both countries. Whereas in our 2012 provinces report card we used 35 indicators across seven categories – air and climate, water, nature, transportation, waste, energy and buildings and innovation – we decided in 2014 to only use 10 key performance indicators (KPIs) across six categories (i.e. we excluded innovation this time around). We realized, in retrospect, that many of the indicators used in the past didn’t accurately capture performance and progress toward “greening” a jurisdiction, and that simple in this case translated into better. These 10 KPIs reflect provincial and state progress on reducing greenhouse gases, air pollution, water consumption, production of waste and impacts on nature.

In some cases, such as the number of kilometres driven or water consumed, we took absolute numbers and ranked jurisdictions on a per-capita basis. In other cases, such as GHGs, air pollution and waste, we ranked jurisdictions by how much economic output has been achieved per unit of pollution or emission or waste (Note: all U.S. figures were converted to metric). Other indicators were broken down and ranked by percentage – i.e. the percentage of land and water protected in a jurisdiction or renewable electricity generated as a percentage of overall generation.


To create a comparable scoring system we started by reverse-ranking how jurisdictions performed on each indicator. In Canada (10 provinces) the best ranking position was considered to be 10 and the worst 1; in the U.S. best ranking was 51 and worst 1.

Once ranking positions were given for each of the 10 KPIs, we simply added those together. In the case of Canada (10 provinces) a perfect score would be 100. In the case of the United States (50 states and one district) a perfect score would be 510. To make U.S. scores more comparable to Canada, we divided all scores by 5.1 so results were also out of 100.

Click here to access a spreadsheet of the full results

Bonus Points

· Feed-In Tariff (FIT) or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program.

· Mandatory e-waste recycling rules.

· Meaningful climate plan.

· Meaningful carbon tax or participation in a carbon cap & trade program.

· Jurisdiction-wide mandatory energy reporting requirement for commercial buildings. (Half point given where one major city in a jurisdiction has mandatory reporting).

· Law that enables municipalities to use local improvement charges (LICs) to support financing programs (such as PACE or PAPER) for property owners looking to pursue renewable energy or energy-efficiency projects.

· Jurisdictional program for issuing green bonds that finance climate-friendly public infrastructure projects.

· Jurisdictional accounting that integrates natural capital stocks and flows.

· Policies that drive green building operations and construction, measured by LEED building square footage per capita.

· Policies that drive sustainable forestry, measured by percentage of FSC-certified forests in a jurisdiction.

Total bonus points for a jurisdiction are added to the pre-bonus ranking score to determine a FINAL SCORE.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

NOTE: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and population numbers from 2012 were used, where necessary, in calculations. All dollars in Canadian currency and all volumes, weights, distances and energy measurements converted to metric.


Two KPIs fall under the energy category. The first is primary energy productivity. This indicator gives a sense of how efficiently energy is being used in the economy or by the population of a jurisdiction. For Canada, we calculated how many dollars of GDP result from each million British thermal units of primary energy consumed in a province. For the United States we used a per capita measurement, as relatively recent per capita numbers were available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

U.S. Source: Energy Information Administration, 2011 numbers


Canadian Source: National Energy Board, 2011 numbers


The second energy indicator was renewable power as a percentage of overall power generation in a jurisdiction. We included hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar (PV and thermal), and biomass-based electricity generation.

U.S. Source: Energy Information Administration, 2012 numbers, taken from the report “Net Generation by State by Type of Producer and Energy Source” (EIA-906, EIA-920, and EIA-923)

Canadian Source: Statistics Canada, 2012 numbers



Two KPIs compose the air and climate category. The first is carbon productivity, calculated as dollars of GDP for every million tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions. This climate indicator favours jurisdictions what are both efficient with energy use and have lower-carbon energy sources.

U.S. Source: Environmental Protection Agency, 2011 numbers


Canadian Source: Environment Canada, National Inventory Report, 1990-2011


The second KPI in this category is air pollution productivity, calculated as dollars of GDP for every kilotonne of smog-causing sulfur and nitrogen oxides, as well particulates (10 and 2.5 micrometre combined). This air pollution indicator also offers insight into energy mix and how efficiently energy is being used. To make U.S. and Canadian data more comparable, we only counted pollution from mobile, industrial and fuel combustion sources. In the case of nitrogen oxides, we also included biogenic sources. For particulates, we made sure to exclude forest fires and dust measurements.

We determined how many dollars of GDP resulted from a kilotonne of each of these three air pollutants. We then averaged the three results to come up with a final air pollution ranking (score) for each jurisdiction.

U.S. Source: Environmental Protection Agency, 2011 numbers


Canadian Source: Environmental Canada, 2011 numbers



Two KPIs compose the waste category. The first is waste productivity, calculated as dollars of GDP for every kilotonne of municipal solid waste produced in a jurisdiction. This indicator gives insight into how efficiently goods are being made (i.e. less waste during manufacturing, less packaging, etc.) and consumed (i.e. goods being used longer, etc.)

U.S. Source: 17th Nationwide Survey of MSW Management in the U.S., a collaboration between Biocycle and the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University, 2008 data. http://www.biocycle.net/images/art/1010/bc101016_s.pdf(Used “Estimated MSW Generation” column).

Canadian Source: Statistics Canada, 2010 numbers.


(NOTE: for PEI used Island Waste Management Corporation annual report 2012 --http://www.iwmc.pe.ca/pdfs/2012AnnualReport.pdf)

The second KPI in this category is the rate of waste diversion, which is the percentage of municipal solid waste that is diverted away from landfill through recycling and composting. For the U.S. rate, MSW used for energy-from-waste facilities was excluded. This indicator demonstrates how successfully municipalities, guided by provincial or state policy, are keeping waste out of landfills through recycling of metals, glass, plastics and paper, and the composting of organics waste.

U.S. Source: 17th Nationwide Survey of MSW Management in the U.S., a collaboration between Biocycle and the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University, 2008 data.


Canadian Source: Statistics Canada, 2010 numbers.


(NOTE: for PEI had to use 2006 figure from Statistics Canada, which was most recent data available)


We used only one indicator for the water category -- domestic water use per capita, calculated as the amount of water delivered through public supply for domestic (residential) consumption divided by the population of a jurisdiction. Because of regional differences that influence water consumption – e.g. agricultural use in one area versus industrial use in another – it was decided that a domestic-only metric was most fair for the purpose of jurisdictional comparison. This indicator offers insight into how efficiently households are consuming publicly delivered water.

U.S. Source: U.S. Geological Survey, “Estimated Use of Water In the United States in 2005”, Circular 1344. (NOTE: Unfortunately 2010 data, to be released in 2014, was not available in time for this report).

http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1344/pdf/c1344.pdf (see page 20, Table 6, in Public Supply section in column titled "Public Supply Per Capita Use")

Canada Source: Statistics Canada, 2009 survey data, Table 2, “Residential Water Use Per Capita” column.



Two indicators compose the transportation category. The first is number of persons per public EV charging station. Corporate Knights believes that the adoption of electric vehicles reflects the desire of a jurisdiction to lower the carbon emissions of both its transportation fleet and its electricity system, as the climate-friendly characteristic of electric vehicles is intimately tied to the low-carbon nature of the electricity it consumes.

U.S. Source: U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, numbers as of March 16, 2014.


Canadian Source: Supplied from Plug’n Drive database on request, numbers as of March 26, 2014.

The second indicator is vehicle kilometres driven per capita. While some jurisdictions have a more rural than urban population that gives them a disadvantage, provinces and states with lower kilometres per capita are more likely to have stronger public transit systems and residents are more likely embracing alternatives – and more likely lower carbon -- modes of transportation.

U.S. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2011 numbers. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2011/vm2.cfm

Canadian Source: Transport Canada, 2009 numbers


A126 and A128 (2009)


One indicator composes the nature category, calculated as the percentage of a jurisdiction’s land (including inland water bodies) protected by law. This indicator reflects efforts by a state or province to conserve natural areas for both public enjoyment and the preservation of biodiversity.

U.S. Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Protected Areas Data Portal, 2011 numbers


Canadian Source: Environment Canada, 2012 numbers


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