A research project to address the gaps in current indicators of global sustainability

The definition of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals SDGs and Targets has been followed by a long debate to establish the set of the best fitting Indicators. This is particularly helpful to policymakers in clarifying what the different methodologies employed for measurement of progress towards sustainable development aim at and their respective advantages and drawbacks within differentiated country-specific contexts.

The study assesses the main limitations of the available tools for monitoring the interaction across the three sustainability dimensions. The final aim is to predict unsolved challenges and propose the most effective ways to improve sustainability levels all over the World.

The available indicators mostly succeed at measuring unsustainable trends that can be targeted by management action, but fall short of defining or ensuring sustainability. A recent review of environmental assessment and reporting at the national level for the United Nations Environment Programme shows about half of reporting countries to be using indicators and provides some lessons learned.

This article argues that a systemic monitoring system capable of connecting human-environment interactions and multiple scales of analysis in a dynamic way is needed to ensure that the EU bioeconomy transition meets overarching goals, like the Sustainable Development Goals.

The proclaimed data revolution for sustainable development should address a three-fold request: What are the implications of global environmental change for conservation of species and landscapes including the possibilities for restoration, reversal of degradation and relocation? Read the Full Article: Mobilising the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, available at: However indicators at the national level are not sufficient.

This might include significant shifts in political, economic and cultural values, changes in institutional structures and individual behaviours, large-scale systems changes and technological innovations that reduce the rate, scale and magnitude of global environmental change and its consequences.

Corporate executives, already overloaded by requests for sustainability data, mostly from nonfinancial stakeholders, are reluctant to invest more in sustainability reporting until they see evidence of broad-based mainstream investor interest.

Several recent studies point to the increasing number of companies that are translating their sustainability strategies into financial gains and competitive strength.

These metrics, generally referred to as ESG environmental, social and governance data, grew in complexity as the sustainability umbrella expanded, enabling analysts to effectively screen for the presence or absence of a multitude of indicators for socially and environmentally conscious investors.

For instance, given the overarching dynamics that can make it difficult to attribute responsibility and collect data at the farmer level in developing countries, it is a real challenge to get an accurate picture of the distributional impacts of environmental policies and inaction largely affecting unskilled labor intensive sectors such as agriculture.

Despite rising importance on the corporate agenda, sustainability — at least as currently understood and measured — interests only a small niche of investors. For instance, increasing water availability cannot be an option for relieving thirst and reducing the water access gap if the water in question is highly polluted.

Previous article in issue. With reference to quantitative data collected for Natural Assets, there are well known challenges in providing cost-benefit assessments due to monetary evaluation of non-market goods and services, as well as the claim for a deeper understanding of the thresholds and tipping points that not to be exceeded in order to avoid undesirable and unmanageable effects.

Such a complex framework can help the overall sustainable development community to provide sound analyses in order to improve the attentiveness and reliability of policy messages. Most executives we spoke with agree that questions posed by mainstream asset managers or analysts about sustainability during quarterly earnings calls remain very rare.

What is known about the successes and failures of different actors in managing global environmental change, at different scales, and using different strategies? Finally, the report outlines how aspects such as transparency, communicability and policy relevance must be considered in the process towards data collection.

Image courtesy of Dupont. Evaluating strategies for governing and managing the global environment across sectors and scales The Transformations towards Sustainability theme goes beyond assessing and implementing current responses to global change and meeting gaps in development needs.

Nevertheless, Sustainable Development Goals SDGs are becoming increasingly a lighthouse of national and local policymaking. Transformations towards sustainability Photo: How can the massive volume of new geophysical, biological, and social data, including local knowledge and social media be managed and analysed so as to provide new insights into the causes, nature and consequences of global environmental change and to facilitate the identification and diffusion of solutions?

Can technologies provide viable solutions to global environmental change and promote sustainable development?

Projecting the impacts of energy policy or ecosystem management on biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity is one area where interdisciplinary work is essential. While the Dashboard of Indicators implicitly presumes strong sustainability among the considered indicators, the other tools, all referring to aggregate measures, presume lower degrees of complementarity across indicators and therefore a weaker concept of sustainability, which is then a relevant critical point when considering the combined measures of the 17 SDGs UN SDSN, The pathway to Sustainable Development, available at: There are still many criticalities to be solved in order to make the whole implementation process effective and successful, including adequate investments and financial assistance for developing countries OECD, ; UN SDSN, What science is needed to evaluate and assess policies and facilitate and legitimise transformation?

Responding to global environmental change is not just a matter for national governments but also for local governments and international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and individuals.

It will consider the more fundamental and innovative long-term transformations that are needed to move towards a sustainable future. Since data gathering is costly, joint efforts and strong cooperation of the involved communities academia, international institutions, local actors are required to ensure that the benefits gained by improved knowledge outweigh the costs.Listed are various terms synonymous with sustainability.

Use different terms when searching databases, and catalogs. From Virginia Tech’s Sustainability Research Guide. The Transformations towards Sustainability theme goes beyond assessing and implementing current responses to global change and meeting gaps in development needs.

It will consider the more fundamental and innovative long-term transformations that are needed to move towards a. The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability research is transdisciplinary, bringing together multiple disciplines and leaders to create and share knowledge.

Center focus around Bioethics, Policy, and Law and History and Philosophy of Science, as well as Responsible Conduct in Research. Specific current projects include the. Toward a systemic monitoring of the European bioeconomy: Gaps, needs and the integration of sustainability indicators and targets for global land use With current global cropland footprints of around While a broad range of data gaps and research needs for indicators, targets, models and methods are distinguished in Table 2.

A Framework for Sustainability Indicators at EPA Authors Joseph Fiksel Tarsha Eason Herbert Frederickson Edited by problem-driven research (to solve current environmental problems of high risk and high A Framework for Sustainability Indicators at EPA. 1. Introduction. Purpose. the main gaps in information for understanding the drivers and impediments of long-term investment.

The note builds on the FSB, IMF, OECD and World Bank project to develop a set of key quantitative indicators for long-term investment finance, which has sustainability of public budgets and funding needs at all levels of government to.

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A research project to address the gaps in current indicators of global sustainability
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