STISUSMAN › O8. Proportion of land occupied that is “natural cover”
O8: Natural cover =
Natural cover area / Total land area
Unit of the indicator: percent
Why this indicator is important
While this is not an absolute measure of the sustainability of the facility or its products, it does indicate the intensity of land use of the facility. By providing some natural cover, it is a sign to employees and the surrounding community that environmental performance is a concern to the facility.
Natural cover, for this indicator, can include undisturbed land as well as landscaped green cover, including “green roofs”. In the case of undisturbed land, it could include natural forest, grassland, scrub or wetland.
Achieving a high percentage of natural land cover is unlikely unless the entire facility was underground or all roofs were landscaped. In fact, some industrial land use plans aim to reduce environmental impact by concentrating facilities in as small an area as possible. This minimises the disruption of natural areas and offers the possibility for common treatment of residuals and ease of transportation between facilities. This indicator is intended to track the status and ongoing improvement of land already occupied. Therefore, it is important to identify opportunities to improve and maintain natural land cover in the land area occupied by the facility. Furthermore, monitoring this indicator ensures that natural land is taken into account in subsequent land use planning decisions.
This indicator does not take into account the disruption of ecosystems during initial construction of the facility. It would take more detailed analysis to determine if it would be better to build a one hectare facility on one hectare of existing industrial land or on 100 hectares of forest land.