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Assessing Sustainability Frameworks and Indices
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The Earth Institute Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management provides a rigorous analytic base to. help inform sustainability decision making Our research addresses the fundamental issues facing professionals and. policy makers implementing sustainability strategies We seek to better understand the mechanisms behind. sustainability management in order to develop and promote more effective public policies and organizational. practices We analyze sustainability strategies and initiatives examine methods of valuing sustainability practices. and study the impact of policies that stimulate sustainability innovations and trends The goal of the program is to. develop models to overcome barriers to institutionalizing sustainability in organizational operations We aim to. hasten the integration of sustainability principles in the management of organizations by providing the data. necessary for decision making,spm ei columbia edu,Table of Contents. Executive Summary 1,Introduction 1,Sustainability Frameworks 2. Sustainability Indices 3,Indicator Selection 3,Standardization 4. Weighting and Aggregation 5,Discussion 5,Concerns with Indicator Selection 6. Frameworks Guiding Indicator Selection 6,Conclusion 7.
Assessing Sustainability Frameworks and Indices,Executive Summary. The ability to accurately assess and track sustainability is crucial for achieving sustainable development goals. at every level There are many types of tools for sustainability assessment at the core of which are indicators. and indices By presenting a number of common sustainability frameworks and outlining the underlying. steps for constructing sustainability indices this paper aims to contribute to the overview and discussion of. sustainability measurement which is often inconsistent and confusing This paper also analyzes how. sustainability frameworks can assist in the selection of indicators which is often the most important yet. most inconsistent step in constructing an index and points out the need for future research to develop a. dynamic and objective process of indicator selection for both frameworks and composite indices. Introduction, Sustainability has become a widely acknowledged category and indices are the results of those. objective to incorporate into the daily operations of indicators aggregated into a single measure. companies and organizations The ability to Indicators and indices are at the foundation of. accurately assess and monitor quantitative sustainability assessment and are the focus of this. measures of sustainability is crucial for achieving paper. sustainable development goals at every level There. are generally three types of tools that have been Sustainability indicators are able to transform a vast. adopted by researchers and organizations to amount of information about our complex. measure sustainability 1 product related environment into concise policy applicable and. assessment tools that focus on material and or manageable information There is a very large. energy flow of a product or service 2 integrated universe of indicators to measure the sustainability. assessment tools with the aim for policy or project performance of an entity but the critical question is. implementation and 3 indicators and indices Ness what to use and how many indicators should be. Urbel Piirsalu Anderberg Olsson 2007 The evaluated Sustainability indicators are either. product related assessment delineates flows of presented in a structured framework that can be. energy or materials concerning production and used to isolate and report on relevant indicators or. consumption of goods and services and aims to aggregated towards a composite index or score. identify risks and inefficiencies in the production rating This paper discusses sustainability. processes Well known product instruments include assessment using both non integrated indicators. Life Cycle Assessment LCA and the product presented in a framework and integrated indicators. Material Intensity Analysis developed by the or indices the consolidation of two or more. Wuppertal Institute for Climate Environment and indicators given that the academic literature has. Energy Integrated assessments focus on evaluating documented frequently the necessity to quantify. complex scenarios using tools such as conceptual concepts of sustainability into metrics or indices 1. modeling multi criteria analysis risk and uncertainty. analysis and cost benefit assessment and are often The adaptability and evolution of frameworks and. adopted to aid policymaking Indicators are simple indices are essential because our collective. measures that describe current states of a company understanding of sustainability changes rapidly This. or a region with respect to some sustainability evolution involves a change in indicators entities. See Tanzil Beloff 2006 Szekely Knirsch 2005 and Azapagic Perdan 2000 as examples. and interpretations of results but research on the indices such as standardization weighting and. proper frequency of framework revision hasn t yet aggregation and analyze how sustainability. been conducted 2 This whitepaper therefore aims to frameworks can assist in the selection of indicators. summarize the most commonly used frameworks which is often the most important yet most. outline the methods frequently used in constructing inconsistent step in constructing an index. Sustainability Frameworks, There are myriad frameworks developed and environmental aspects Das Das 2014 In. proposed by various organizations and researchers addition the United Nations Commission for. which are qualitative presentations of sustainability Sustainable Development devised a Theme Indicator. used to isolate and report on relevant indicators Framework By incorporating institutional aspects in. The most influential framework upon which many addition to the social environmental and economic. other sustainability frameworks have been built is components this framework aims to evaluate the. the Triple Bottom Line which was proposed by John process of sustainable development from the. Elkington 1998 to represent social environmental government s perspective The four components. and economic pillars of sustainability He argued comprise indicators measuring 38 sub themes such. that corporations should perform above three as equity and health for the social sector land and. bottom lines profit and loss account ocean for the environment sector. people account and planet account economic structure for the economic. Measuring sustainability based on these sector and institutional capacity for the. three segments does not indicate that institutional aspect. organizations must maximize returns on, these dimensions but rather that the Also related to the Triple Bottom Line. social environmental and economic foundation another common framework. performances of an entity should be for sustainable development indicators. integrated and analyzed as a whole Moneva Archel includes variations of the causal chain or stress. Correa 2006 The Triple Bottom Line currently response model The pressure state response PSR. represents one of the most widely accepted framework lays the groundwork for many. framework foundations to evaluate an institution s subsequent sustainability measurement models by. performance in sustainable development describing the process in which human activities. create particular pressures and thus cause, Perhaps the most common example of a Triple responses from societal economic environmental.
Bottom Line framework is the Global Reporting or social agents Singh Murty Gupta Dikshit. Initiative GRI which was developed by the Coalition 2009 The PSR model delineates a procedure of. for Environmentally Responsible Economies CERES how people influence their surrounding. with the United Nations Environment Programme environment and how it in turn reacts This model. UNEP in 2000 The third version of the GRI can then be useful to organizations for measuring. guideline considers a set of 84 indicators across the impact of their actions on the environment and. three pillars social environmental and economic for evaluating the impacts of different management. with the largest emphasis placed on the social and response options 3. See Searcy 2012, The PSR model was later revised to a more comprehensive version which is the driver pressure state impact. response DPSIR model It has the same methodological foundation with the original PSR model. Aside from considering all aspects of sustainability system of environmental sustainability indicators. frameworks have also been developed to provide specifically designed for the production process The. qualitative evaluation of composite environmental indicator system contains five levels which are. social and economic indicators For example the facility compliance conformance indicators facility. Barometer of Sustainability Prescott Allen 1995 material use and performance indicators facility. was developed to evaluate the environmental and effect indicators supply chain and product life cycle. social aspects of sustainability at the same time the indicators and sustainable system indicators. Ecological Footprint Wackernagel Rees 1996 is, specified by an area of land needed to produce Finally there are various other frameworks that. enough food water energy as well as to dispose stand independent from these common frameworks. waste for a person a product or a city and the Eco for sustainability such as the Competing Values. Efficiency Framework World Business Council for Framework and the Approach Deployment Results. Sustainable Development WBSCD 1999 helps and Improvement ADRI assessment matrix 4. businesses assess their sustainable development Overall sustainability frameworks aim to measure. using combined economic and environmental sustainability primarily by providing qualitative. indicators that are related to the business world evaluations of processes or selected composite. Lastly there are even frameworks that solely focus environmental social and economic indicators This. on one aspect of sustainability such as the indicator contrasts with sustainability indices that aim to. framework developed by the Lowell Center for provide quantitative evaluation of sustainability. Sustainable Production which aims to present a through composite indicators. Sustainability Indices, Indicators are quantitative measures that represent indicators to complex indices First a group of. a state of economic social and or environmental indicators are selected depending on the purpose of. development in a defined region Ness et al 2007 the index Scores are assigned to each indicator and. When indicators are aggregated the resulting those scores are standardized and assigned relative. composite measure becomes an index Therefore weightings against each other The final step of. indices or composite indicators are integrated compiling a complex index is to aggregate the. indicators in the sense that more than one results of all indicators using various mathematical. dimension of sustainability are aggregated For calculations The specific methods used in each step. example the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare are outlined in the following sections. ISEW and the Environmental Sustainability Index,ESI move beyond economic accounting and. encompass numerous nature society dimensions Indicator Selection. ESI in particular aggregates 68 indicators from five Most indices include indicators based on what they. categories of mostly environmental sustainability seek to measure and report to their target audience. aspects but also from social and institutional The chosen indicators of each index will cover the. dimensions basic essential and comprehensive aspects of. targets sustainability which would vary with the, Even though the population of sustainability indices nature of the target audience Multiple methods can.
has grown significantly over the past few decades be used to categorize indicators for indices to. there is a common system of converting a set of measure various aspects of sustainability. See Robbins Page 2012 Pojasek 2007 and Newman 2007 for details. In addition it is rare for an index to utilize a connections between indicators and index goals 3. universal rating method across all sectors if a perfect indicator doesn t exist look for a proxy. industries Changes between industries involve especially for some complex factors 4 consider. variation in the indicators used categories scored relevant spatial and temporal scales 5 keep in. or both of these features When the reasoning for mind the target audience 6 establishing a set of. the variation between indicators used for different principles or criteria can help select indicators 7. industries is provided indices typically maintain that conduct a cost benefit analysis to review resource. not all indicators are material to all industries and and time constraints for data collection and 8. therefore inclusion of the same indicators across all quality of data counts Hsu et al 2013. industries would not produce relevant information, For example carbon emissions from fuel However the selection processes are still arbitrary. combustion is a more critical indicator for the without a set of standardized and widely adopted. shipping industry than the software industry requirements Most indices relied upon in house. expert panels employees to determine key aspects,The. Assessing Sustainability Frameworks and Indices March 2015 Dr Dong Guo Kelsie DeFrancia Meiyi Chen Brian Filiatraut Chenghang Zhang Sustainability Metrics White Paper Series 3 of 3 2 The Earth Institute Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management provides a rigorous analytic base to help inform sustainability decision making Our research addresses the fundamental issues

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