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Sustainability Assessment and Indicators: Tools in a Decision-Making Strategy for Sustainable Development
Tom Waas 1 , Jean Hugé 1 , Thomas Block 1 , Tarah Wright 2 , Francisco Benitez-Capistros 3 , Aviel Verbruggen 4
1  Centre for Sustainable Development, Ghent University, Poel 16, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2  Environmental Science Department, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, P.O. Box, Halifax, NS 15000, Canada
3  Laboratory of Systems Ecology and Resource Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
4  University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

Published: 25 August 2014 by MDPI in Sustainability
MDPI, Volume 6; 10.3390/su6095512
Abstract: Recognizing the urgent need for sustainability, we argue that to move beyond the rhetoric and to actually realize sustainable development, it must be considered as a decision-making strategy. We demonstrate that sustainability assessment and sustainability indicators can be powerful decision-supporting tools that foster sustainable development by addressing three sustainability decision-making challenges: interpretation, information-structuring, and influence. Particularly, since the 1990s many substantial and often promising sustainability assessment and sustainability indicators efforts are made. However, better practices and a broader shared understanding are still required. We aim to contribute to that objective by adopting a theoretical perspective that frames SA and SI in the context of sustainable development as a decision-making strategy and that introduces both fields along several essential aspects in a structured and comparable manner.
Keywords: sustainability assessment, sustainable development, sustainability indicators, decision-making, Impact assessment
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