Stakeholder-driven initiatives using sustainability indicators

Authored by: Ana Rita Domingues , Rodrigo Lozano , Tomás B. Ramos

Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138674769
eBook ISBN: 9781315561103
Adobe ISBN:


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Sustainability indicators have been extensively used to measure and communicate the state and progress of sustainability issues by covering robust and meaningful information for a variety of stakeholders. Sustainability indicators allow informal and, many times, sporadic actions of sustainability data collection and evaluation that can be conducted by stakeholders, covering different phases of the sustainability assessments. Stakeholder engagement in sustainability-related initiatives can increase the quality of environmental and sustainability decisions, since the information in these initiatives is then taken into consideration in more comprehensive ways. There have been new approaches to enhance the interaction and empowerment of stakeholders in environmental and sustainability indicator initiatives. Stakeholders can have an active role as part of the team that selects, develops, and evaluates sustainability indicators, as well as participating actively in data collection in the monitoring phase. This chapter aims to explore and describe voluntary and collaborative stakeholder initiatives that use sustainability indicators as evaluation and communication tools. The chapter analyses worldwide initiatives, including technology-based examples. The findings show that in a majority of cases, the examples focus on empowering stakeholders in the selection of sustainability indicators and monitoring data collection of sustainability-related initiatives. These examples appear to have been governmental entities and non-governmental organisations. The integration of stakeholders, as active actors, could: enhance social ties; improve the communication grid, including the vision on what was being implemented; and increase co-responsibility of the shared resources. Stakeholders, thus, can, and should, become part of the environmental and sustainability indicator initiatives, especially when they feel that their opinions are part of decision-making processes that have impacts on their daily lives or are important for their community. An increase of interaction between experts and non-experts of sustainability indicators could enhance transparency of sustainability-related initiatives and help the transition to more sustainable societies.

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