Substantiating the rough consensus on the concept of sustainable development as a point of departure for indicator development

Authored by: Walter J. V. Vermeulen

Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators

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

Print ISBN: 9781138674769
eBook ISBN: 9781315561103
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315561103-4

 Download Chapter

 

Abstract

In this chapter I maintain that, despite the endless condemnations of the vagueness of the concept and definition of sustainable development (SD), in practice we can see a rough consensus on what it includes. Claims about vagueness are the result of the on-going, open and divergent discourses on what is needed for sustainable development. This divergence has its roots in the shared tendency to disagree within and between academic disciplines; in the political arena; and the competitive framings of the concept in the market arena. However, despite this noisy cacophony, we see, in a few globally oriented communities of practice (of voluntary standards, GRI [Global Reporting Initiative], LCA [Life Cycle Assessment], LCSA [Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment], some of the well-developed sustainable development indicators), a rough consensus on the core elements of the concept of sustainable development, which is also well in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some sub-elements still need some refining, while some other key elements may still be further refined with additional sub-elements, but a core structure exists and is being widely worked with. In this chapter I bring together widely shared views in diverse academic and practitioners’ communities, which by smart combining can help to create an integrated view. I will reflect on the commonalities, some persistent confusion and show routes for further refinement.

 Cite
Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.