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|Title: ||Measuring sustainability at a supra-farm level: Evaluation of methods|
|Authors: ||Wustenberghs, H.|
Van Passel, S.
|Issue Date: ||2009|
|Citation: ||Integrated Assessment of Agriculture and Sustainable Development Conference, Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, March 10-12, 2009|
|Abstract: ||Since the Brundtland report (WCED, 1987) put sustainable development on the policy
agenda, many attempts have been made to put the theoretical concept into practice. This also
entailed the need to monitor progress towards sustainability and hence to ‘measure’ it. So,
over the last 20 years a wide range of sustainability monitoring tools have been developed.
The majority of these efforts focussed on the national level. Well known examples are the
ecological footprint (Wackernagel & Rees, 1995), integrated environmental and economic
(‘green’) national accounts (UN, 2003) or the index of sustainable economic welfare (Daly &
Cobb, 1989). Some efforts focussed on the firm level, such as some eco-efficiency measures
or the sustainable value added (Figge & Hahn, 2004).
Maybe even more than in other sectors, sustainable production is of vital importance in
agriculture, as farming, unlike most other economic activities, forms a part of the ecosystem
rather than being external to it. Sustainability assessments for agriculture at national level
have (partially) been made by drawing up economic and environmental accounts (Atkinson et
al., 2004, Wustenberghs et al., 2004). At the farm level, sustainability can be assessed by a
balanced set of indicators that might be visually integrated (Rigby et al., 2001; Meul et al.,
2008) or by an adjusted sustainable value added (Van Passel et al., 2007).
However, recently, the need has emerged for more regionalized policies that no longer
focus on nationwide measures but on ‘tailor-made’ solutions for relatively small regions or
for (sub)sectors. The Water Framework Directive is a good example of such a policy: while
having common goals for the whole of Europe, catchment basin specific measurements are
encouraged. Another example can be found in rural development policies, where regional
identity has become an important issue. Thus the need for sustainability assessment at an
intermediate level pushes forward.
The goal of this study is to evaluate existing methods for sustainability measurement for
their possibilities of application at the supra-farm level and, if necessary, to formulate
suggestions for the construction of a specifically adapted sustainability monitoring tool.|
|Type: ||Conference Material|
|Appears in Collections: ||Research publications|
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