Sustainability measurement

Sustainability measurement is the quantitative basis for the informed management of sustainability.[1] The metrics used for the measurement of sustainability (involving the sustainability of environmental, social and economic domains, both individually and in various combinations) are still evolving: they include indicators, benchmarks, audits, indexes and accounting, as well as assessment, appraisal[2] and other reporting systems. They are applied over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.[3][4]

Some of the best known and most widely used sustainability measures include corporate sustainability reporting, Triple Bottom Line accounting, and estimates of the quality of sustainability governance for individual countries using the Environmental Sustainability Index and Environmental Performance Index. An alternative approach, used by the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme and explicitly critical of the triple-bottom-line approach is Circles of Sustainability.

Sustainability indicators and their function

The principal objective of sustainability indicators is to inform public policy-making as part of the process of sustainability governance.[5] Sustainability indicators can provide information on any aspect of the interplay between the environment and socio-economic activities.[6] Building strategic indicator sets generally deals with just a few simple questions: what is happening? (descriptive indicators), does it matter and are we reaching targets? (performance indicators), are we improving? (efficiency indicators), are measures working? (policy effectiveness indicators), and are we generally better off? (total welfare indicators). One popular general framework used by The European Environment Agency uses a slight modification of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development DPSIR system.[7] This breaks up environmental impact into five stages. Social and economic developments (consumption and production) (D)rive or initiate environmental (P)ressures which, in turn, produces a change in the (S)tate of the environment which leads to (I)mpacts of various kinds. Societal (R)esponses (policy guided by sustainability indicators) can be introduced at any stage of this sequence of events.

Metrics at the global scale
United Nations Indicators

The United Nations has developed extensive sustainability measurement tools in relation to sustainable development [8] as well as a System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting.[9]

Benchmarks, indicators, indexes, auditing etc.

In the last couple of decades there has arisen a crowded toolbox of quantitative methods used to assess sustainability — including measures of resource use like life cycle assessment, measures of consumption like the ecological footprint and measurements of quality of environmental governance like the Environmental Performance Index. The following is a list of quantitative "tools" used by sustainability scientists - the different categories are for convenience only as defining criteria will intergrade. It would be too difficult to list all those methods available at different levels of organisation so those listed here are at for the global level only.

A benchmark is a point of reference for a measurement. Once a benchmark is established it is possible to assess trends and measure progress. Baseline global data on a range of sustainability parameters is available at list of global sustainability statistics
2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership
A sustainability index is an aggregate sustainability indicator that combines multiple sources of data. There is a Consultative Group on Sustainable Development Indices[10]
Many environmental problems ultimately relate to the human effect on those global biogeochemical cycles that are critical to life. Over the last decade monitoring these cycles has become a more urgent target for research:
Sustainability auditing and reporting are used to evaluate the sustainability performance of a company, organization, or other entity using various performance indicators.[14] Popular auditing procedures available at the global level include:
Some accounting methods attempt to include environmental costs rather than treating them as externalities
Resource metrics

Part of this process can relate to resource use such as energy accounting or to economic metrics or price system values as compared to non-market economics potential, for understanding resource use.[20] An important task for resource theory (energy economics) is to develop methods to optimize resource conversion processes.[21] These systems are described and analyzed by means of the methods of mathematics and the natural sciences.[22] Human factors, however, have dominated the development of our perspective of the relationship between nature and society since at least the Industrial Revolution, and in particular have influenced how we describe and measure the economic impacts of changes in resource quality. A balanced view of these issues requires an understanding of the physical framework in which all human ideas, institutions, and aspirations must operate.[23]

Economics, oil and energy
Oil imports by country
Energy return on energy investment

When oil production first began in the mid-nineteenth century, the largest oil fields recovered fifty barrels of oil for every barrel used in the extraction, transportation and refining. This ratio is often referred to as the Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI or EROEI). Currently, between one and five barrels of oil are recovered for each barrel-equivalent of energy used in the recovery process. As the EROEI drops to one, or equivalently the Net energy gain falls to zero, the oil production is no longer a net energy source. This happens long before the resource is physically exhausted.

Note that it is important to understand the distinction between a barrel of oil, which is a measure of oil, and a barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), which is a measure of energy. Many sources of energy, such as fission, solar, wind, and coal, are not subject to the same near-term supply restrictions that oil is. Accordingly, even an oil source with an EROEI of 0.5 can be usefully exploited if the energy required to produce that oil comes from a cheap and plentiful energy source. Availability of cheap, but hard to transport, natural gas in some oil fields has led to using natural gas to fuel enhanced oil recovery. Similarly, natural gas in huge amounts is used to power most Athabasca Tar Sands plants. Cheap natural gas has also led to Ethanol fuel produced with a net EROEI of less than 1, although figures in this area are controversial because methods to measure EROEI are in debate.

Growth-based economic models

Insofar as economic growth is driven by oil consumption growth, post-peak societies must adapt. M. King Hubbert believed:[24]

Some economists describe the problem as uneconomic growth or a false economy. At the political right, Fred Ikle has warned about "conservatives addicted to the Utopia of Perpetual Growth".[25] Brief oil interruptions in 1973 and 1979 markedly slowed - but did not stop - the growth of world GDP.[26]

Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.[27]

David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), place in their study Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy the maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy at 200 million. To achieve a sustainable economy world population will have to be reduced by two-thirds, says the study.[28] Without population reduction, this study predicts an agricultural crisis beginning in 2020, becoming critical c. 2050. The peaking of global oil along with the decline in regional natural gas production may precipitate this agricultural crisis sooner than generally expected. Dale Allen Pfeiffer claims that coming decades could see spiraling food prices without relief and massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before.[29][30]

Hubbert peaks

Although Hubbert peak theory receives most attention in relation to peak oil production, it has also been applied to other natural resources.

Natural gas

Doug Reynolds predicted in 2005 that the North American peak would occur in 2007.[31] Bentley (p. 189) predicted a world "decline in conventional gas production from about 2020".[32]

Coal

Peak coal is significantly further out than peak oil, but we can observe the example of anthracite in the USA, a high grade coal whose production peaked in the 1920s. Anthracite was studied by Hubbert, and matches a curve closely.[33] Pennsylvania's coal production also matches Hubbert's curve closely, but this does not mean that coal in Pennsylvania is exhausted—far from it. If production in Pennsylvania returned at its all-time high, there are reserves for 190 years. Hubbert had recoverable coal reserves worldwide at 2500 × 109 metric tons and peaking around 2150(depending on usage).

More recent estimates suggest an earlier peak. Coal: Resources and Future Production (PDF 630KB [34]), published on April 5, 2007 by the Energy Watch Group (EWG), which reports to the German Parliament, found that global coal production could peak in as few as 15 years.[35] Reporting on this Richard Heinberg also notes that the date of peak annual energetic extraction from coal will likely come earlier than the date of peak in quantity of coal (tons per year) extracted as the most energy-dense types of coal have been mined most extensively.[36] A second study, The Future of Coal by B. Kavalov and S. D. Peteves of the Institute for Energy (IFE), prepared for European Commission Joint Research Centre, reaches similar conclusions and states that ""coal might not be so abundant, widely available and reliable as an energy source in the future".[35]

Work by David Rutledge of Caltech predicts that the total of world coal production will amount to only about 450 gigatonnes.[37] This implies that coal is running out faster than usually assumed.

Finally, insofar as global peak oil and peak in natural gas are expected anywhere from imminently to within decades at most, any increase in coal production (mining) per annum to compensate for declines in oil or NG production, would necessarily translate to an earlier date of peak as compared with peak coal under a scenario in which annual production remains constant.

Fissionable materials

In a paper in 1956,[38] after a review of US fissionable reserves, Hubbert notes of nuclear power:

Technologies such as the thorium fuel cycle, reprocessing and fast breeders can, in theory, considerably extend the life of uranium reserves. Roscoe Bartlett claims [39]

Caltech physics professor David Goodstein has stated[40] that

Metals

Hubbert applied his theory to "rock containing an abnormally high concentration of a given metal"[41] and reasoned that the peak production for metals such as copper, tin, lead, zinc and others would occur in the time frame of decades and iron in the time frame of two centuries like coal. The price of copper rose 500% between 2003 and 2007[42] was by some attributed to peak copper.[43][44] Copper prices later fell, along with many other commodities and stock prices, as demand shrank from fear of a global recession.[45] Lithium availability is a concern for a fleet of Li-ion battery using cars but a paper published in 1996 estimated that world reserves are adequate for at least 50 years.[46] A similar prediction [47] for platinum use in fuel cells notes that the metal could be easily recycled.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus supplies are essential to farming and depletion of reserves is estimated at somewhere from 60 to 130 years.[48] Individual countries supplies vary widely; without a recycling initiative America's supply [49] is estimated around 30 years.[50] Phosphorus supplies affect total agricultural output which in turn limits alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol.

Peak water

Hubbert's original analysis did not apply to renewable resources. However over-exploitation often results in a Hubbert peak nonetheless. A modified Hubbert curve applies to any resource that can be harvested faster than it can be replaced.[51]

For example, a reserve such as the Ogallala Aquifer can be mined at a rate that far exceeds replenishment. This turns much of the world's underground water [52] and lakes [53] into finite resources with peak usage debates similar to oil. These debates usually center around agriculture and suburban water usage but generation of electricity [54] from nuclear energy or coal and tar sands mining mentioned above is also water resource intensive. The term fossil water is sometimes used to describe aquifers whose water is not being recharged.

Renewable resources
  • Fisheries: At least one researcher has attempted to perform Hubbert linearization (Hubbert curve) on the whaling industry, as well as charting the transparently dependent price of caviar on sturgeon depletion.[55] Another example is the cod of the North Sea.[56] The comparison of the cases of fisheries and of mineral extraction tells us that the human pressure on the environment is causing a wide range of resources to go through a depletion cycle which follows a Hubbert curve.
See also
References
  1. "Sustainability Accounting in UK Local Government". The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  2. Dalal-Clayton, Barry and Sadler, Barry 2009. Sustainability Appraisal. A Sourcebook and Reference Guide to International Experience. London: Earthscan. ISBN 978-1-84407-357-3.
  3. Hak, T. et al. 2007. Sustainability Indicators, SCOPE 67. Island Press, London.
  4. Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen 2008. Sustainability Indicators. Measuring the Immeasurable? 2nd edn. London: Earthscan. ISBN 978-1-84407-299-6.
  5. Paul-Marie Boulanger. "Boulanger, P. M. (2008) "Sustainable development indicators: a scientific challenge, a democratic issue". ''S.A.P.I.EN.S.'' '''1''' (1)". Sapiens.revues.org. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  6. Hak, T., Moldan, B. & Dahl, A.L. 2007. SCOPE 67. Sustainability indicators. Island Press, London.
  7. Stanners, D. et al. 2007. Frameworks for environmental assessment and indicators at the EEA. In: Hak, T., Moldan, B. & Dahl, A.L. 2007. SCOPE 67. Sustainability indicators. Island Press, London.
  8. [1] United Nations sustainable development indicators
  9. [2], International Standard Industrial Classification UN System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting
  10. "Consultative Group on Sustainable Development Indices". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  11. "SGI – Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011". Sgi-network.org. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  12. "Mitropoulos L. and P.Prevedouros. 2014. Assessment of Sustainability for Transportation Vehicles. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2344, pp. 88-97. Use link http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/10.3141/2344-10".
  13. [3] Sullivan, C.A. et al. (eds) 2003. The water poverty index: development and application at the community scale. Natural Resources Forum 27: 189-199.
  14. Hill, J. 1992. Towards Good Environmental Practice. The Institute of Business Ethics, London.
  15. "Global Reporting Initiative". Global Reporting Initiative. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  16. "Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines 2002" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  17. "International Corporate Sustainability Reporting". Archived from the original on 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  18. Eurostat. (2007). "Measuring progress towards a more sustainable Europe. 2007 monitoring report of the EU sustainable development strategy."[4] Retrieved on 2009-04-14.
  19. [5]|Publications on sustainability measurement used in sustainability economics
  20. "Net energy analysis". Eoearth.org. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  21. "Environmental Decision Making, Science, and Technology". Telstar.ote.cmu.edu. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  22. "Exergy - A Useful Concept.Intro". Exergy.se. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  23. "Energy and economic myths (historical)". Eoearth.org. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  24. "Exponential Growth as a Transient Phenomenon in Human History". Hubbertpeak.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  25. "Our Perpetual Growth Utopia". Dieoff.org. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  26. http://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2006/pdf/050206.pdf
  27. How peak oil could lead to starvation Archived 2007-08-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. Taggart, Adam (2003-10-02). "Eating Fossil Fuels". EnergyBulletin.net. Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  29. Peak Oil: the threat to our food security Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  30. The Oil Drum: Europe. "Agriculture Meets Peak Oil". Europe.theoildrum.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  31. White, Bill (December 17, 2005). "State's consultant says nation is primed for using Alaska gas". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009.
  32. Bentley, R.W. (2002). "Viewpoint - Global oil & gas depletion: an overview" (PDF). Energy Policy. 30 (3): 189–205. doi:10.1016/S0301-4215(01)00144-6.
  33. GEO 3005: Earth Resources Archived July 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. "Startseite" (PDF). Energy Watch Group. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  35. Hamilton, Rosie (2007-05-21). "Peak coal: sooner than you think". Energybulletin.net. Archived from the original on 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  36. "Museletter". Richard Heinberg. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  37. "Coal: Bleak outlook for the black stuff", by David Strahan, New Scientist, Jan. 19, 2008, pp. 38-41.
  38. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  39. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  40. Jones, Tony (23 November 2004). "Professor Goodstein discusses lowering oil reserves". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  41. "Exponential Growth as a Transient Phenomenon in Human History". Hubbertpeak.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  42. http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/copper/mcs-2008-coppe.pdf Copper Statistics and Information, 2007. USGS
  43. Andrew Leonard (2006-03-02). "Peak copper?". Salon - How the World Works. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
  44. Silver Seek LLC. "Peak Copper Means Peak Silver - SilverSeek.com". News.silverseek.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  45. COMMODITIES-Demand fears hit oil, metals prices, Jan 29, 2009.
  46. "Impact of lithium abundance and cost on electric vehicle battery applications". Cat.inist.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  47. "Department for Transport - Inside Government - GOV.UK". Dft.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  48. "APDA" (PDF). Apda.pt. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  49. http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/phosphate_rock/phospmcs06.pdf
  50. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-05. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  51. Meena Palaniappan and Peter H. Gleick (2008). "The World's Water 2008-2009, Ch 1" (PDF). Pacific Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  52. "WorldŐs largest acquifer going dry". Uswaternews.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
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  54. [7]
  55. "How General is the Hubbert Curve?". Aspoitalia.net. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  56. "Laherrere: Multi-Hubbert Modeling". Hubbertpeak.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
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Sustainability measurement

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Sustainability measurement

Sustainability measurement is the quantitative basis for the informed management of sustainability.[1] The metrics used for the measurement of sustainability (involving the sustainability of environmental, social and economic domains, both individually and in various combinations) are still evolving: they include indicators, benchmarks, audits, indexes and accounting, as well as assessment, appraisal[2] and other reporting systems. They are applied over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.[3][4] Some of the best known and most widely used sustainability measures include corporate sustainability reporting, Triple Bottom Line accounting, and estimates of the quality of sustainability governance for individual countries using the Environmental Sustainability Index and Environmental Performance Index. An alternative approach, used by the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme and explicitly critical of the triple-bottom-line approach is Circles of Sustainability. Sustainability indicators and th ...more...

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Sustainability

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Sustainability

Achieving sustainability will enable the Earth to continue supporting human life. Batad rice terraces, The Philippines—UNESCO World Heritage site Sustainability is the process of maintaining change in a balanced fashion, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.[1] The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the following interconnected domains: environment, economic and social. Sub-domains of sustainable development have been considered also: cultural, technological and political.[2] Sustainable development, is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.[1] Brundtland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) introduced the term of sustainable developm ...more...

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Sustainable development

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Sustainable development

Wind powers 5 MW wind turbines on a wind farm 28 km off the coast of Belgium. Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be classified as development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived mostly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is also rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns. As the concept developed, it has shifted to focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection for future gene ...more...

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Social sustainability

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Social sustainability

Venn diagram of sustainable development: at the confluence of three constituent parts[1] The four domains of social sustainability according to the Circles of Sustainability approach used by the United Nations[2] Social life is the least defined and least understood of the different ways of approaching sustainability and sustainable development. Social sustainability has had considerably less attention in public dialogue than economic and environmental sustainability. There are several approaches to sustainability. The first, which posits a triad of environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and social sustainability, is the most widely accepted as a model for addressing sustainability. The concept of "social sustainability" in this approach encompasses such topics as: social equity, livability, health equity, community development, social capital, social support, human rights, labour rights, placemaking, social responsibility, social justice, cultural competence, community resilience, ...more...

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Water conservation

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Water conservation

United States 1960 postal stamp advocating water conservation. Water conservation includes all the policies, strategies and activities to sustainably manage the natural resource of fresh water, to protect the hydrosphere, and to meet the current and future human demand. Population, household size, and growth and affluence all affect how much water is used. Factors such as climate change have increased pressures on natural water resources especially in manufacturing and agricultural irrigation.[1] Many US cities have already implemented policies aimed at water conservation, with much success.[2] The goals of water conservation efforts include: Ensuring availability of water for future generations where the withdrawal of freshwater from an ecosystem does not exceed its natural replacement rate. Energy conservation as water pumping, delivery and wastewater treatment facilities consume a significant amount of energy. In some regions of the world over 15% of total electricity consumption is devoted to water ...more...

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Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

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Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) launched in 1999, are a family of indices evaluating the sustainability performance of thousands of companies trading publicly and a strategic partner[1] of the S&P Dow Jones Indices. They are the longest-running global sustainability benchmarks worldwide and have become the key reference point in sustainability investing for investors and companies alike.[2] In 2012, S&P Indices and Dow Jones Indexes merged to form S&P Dow Jones Indices.[3] The DJSI is now managed cooperatively by S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM (Sustainable Asset Management). The DJSI is based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards and labor practices. The trend is to reject companies that do not operate in a sustainable and ethical manner. It includes general as well as industry-specific sustainability criteria fo ...more...

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Sustainability studies

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Sustainability studies

Sustainability studies focus on the interdisciplinary perspective of the sustainability concept. Programs include instruction in sustainable development, geography, environmental policies, ethics, ecology, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, economics, natural resources, sociology, and anthropology.[1] Sustainability studies also focuses on the importance of climate change, poverty and development. [2] Studies in Sustainability are now available in many different universities across America. The main goal of sustainability studies is for students to find ways to develop creative solutions to the crisis in environmental sustainability. [3] See also List of environmental degrees References Detail for CIP Code 30.3301, Title: Sustainability Studies.. Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences. Accessed 05.10.2011 "Compar ...more...

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Sustainability accounting

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Sustainability accounting

Sustainability accounting (also known as social accounting, social and environmental accounting, corporate social reporting, corporate social responsibility reporting, or non-financial reporting) was originated about 20 years ago[1] and is considered a subcategory of financial accounting that focuses on the disclosure of non-financial information about a firm's performance to external stakeholders, such as capital holders, creditors, and other authorities. Sustainability accounting represents the activities that have a direct impact on society, environment, and economic performance of an organisation. Sustainability accounting in managerial accounting contrasts with financial accounting in that managerial accounting is used for internal decision making and the creation of new policies that will have an effect on the organisation's performance at economic, ecological, and social (known as the triple bottom line or Triple-P's; People, Planet, Profit) level. Sustainability accounting is often used to generate va ...more...

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Xeriscaping

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Xeriscaping

The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at the headquarters of Denver Water in Denver, Colorado. Xeriscaping is landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation.[1] It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as access to water becomes more limited. Xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening.[2][3] In some areas, terms as water-conserving landscapes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and smart scaping are used instead. Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off. The specific plants used in xeriscaping depend upon the climate. Xeriscaping is different from natural landscaping, because the emphasis in xeriscaping is on selection of plants for water conservation, not necessarily selecting native plants. Public perception ...more...

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Performance indicator

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Performance indicator

KPI information boards. A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement.[1] KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity (such as projects, programs, products and other initiatives) in which it engages. Often success is simply the repeated, periodic achievement of some levels of operational goal (e.g. zero defects, 10/10 customer satisfaction, etc.), and sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals.[2] Accordingly, choosing the right KPIs relies upon a good understanding of what is important to the organization. What is deemed important often depends on the department measuring the performance – e.g. the KPIs useful to finance will differ from the KPIs assigned to sales. Since there is a need to understand well what is important, various techniques to assess the present state of the business, and its key activities, are associated with the selection of performance indicators. These assessments of ...more...

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Higg Index

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Higg Index

The Higg Index is an apparel and footwear industry self-assessment standard for assessing environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain. Launched in 2012, it was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a nonprofit organization founded by a group of fashion companies, the United States government Environmental Protection Agency, and other nonprofit entities. Overview The Higg Index provides a tool for the apparel and footwear industry to assess sustainability throughout a product's entire life cycle, from materials to end-of-life.[1] The metrics created Higg Index are limited to a company's internal use for the evaluation and improvement of environmental performance. Plans for a future version include the creation of a scoring scale designed to communicate a product's sustainability impact to consumers and other stakeholders.[2][3] Version 1.0 Version 1.0 of the Higg Index was made public in July 2012.[4][5] According to the Coalition's Executive Director, Jason Kibbey, the n ...more...

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Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

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Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, often shortened to Rio Declaration, was a short document produced at the 1992 United Nations "Conference on Environment and Development" (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit. The Rio Declaration consisted of 27 principles intended to guide countries in future sustainable development. It was signed by over 170 countries. History The international community met twice to assess the progress made in implementing the principles of the document; first in New York in 1997 during a General Assembly Session of the UN, and then in Johannesburg in 2002. While the document helped to raise environmental awareness, evidence shows that little has been achieved in the document's environmental goals.[1] Content The Rio Declaration proclaims 27 principles. It includes formulations of the precautionary principle (principle 15) and of the polluter pays principle (principle 16). See also Three generations of human rights References Palmer, Robert; Nursey-B ...more...

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Zero population growth

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Zero population growth

Zero population growth, sometimes abbreviated ZPG (also called the replacement level of fertility),[1] is a condition of demographic balance where the number of people in a specified population neither grows nor declines, considered as a social aim by some.[2] According to some, zero population growth, perhaps after stabilizing at some optimum population, is the ideal towards which countries and the whole world should aspire in the interests of accomplishing long-term environmental sustainability.[3] What it means by ‘the number of people neither grows nor declines’ is that births plus in-migrants equal deaths plus out-migrants.[4] History A loosely defined goal of ZPG is to match the replacement fertility rate, which is the average number of children per woman which would hold the population constant. This replacement fertility will depend on mortality rates and the sex ratio at birth, and varies from around 2.1 in developed countries to over 3.0 in some developing countries.[5] The American sociologist a ...more...

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Sustainability science

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Sustainability science

Sustainability science emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline.[1] This new field of science was officially introduced with a "Birth Statement" at the World Congress "Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001" in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change[2] and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The field reflects a desire to give the generalities and broad-based approach of “sustainability” a stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it "brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine".[3] Ecologist William C. Clark proposes that it can be usefully thought of as "neither 'basic' nor 'applied' research but as a field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the disciplines it employs" and ...more...

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Sustainable tourism

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Sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy.[1] Tourism can involve primary transportation to the general location, local transportation, accommodations, entertainment, recreation, nourishment and shopping. It can be related to travel for leisure, business and what is called VFR (visiting friends and relatives).[2] There is now broad consensus that tourism development should be sustainable; however, the question of how to achieve this remains an object of debate.[3] Without travel there is no tourism, so the concept of sustainable tourism is tightly linked to a concept of sustainable mobility.[4] Two relevant considerations are tourism's reliance on fossil fuels and tourism's effect on climate change. 72 percent of tourism's CO emissions come from transportation, 24 percent from accommodations, and 4 percent from local activities.[2] Aviation accounts for 55% of those transportation CO emissions (or 40% of t ...more...

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Environmental economics

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Sustainable transport

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Sustainable transport

Anthropogenic per capita emissions of greenhouse gases by country by the year 2000. Sustainable transport refers to the broad subject of transport that is sustainable in the senses of social, environmental and climate impacts and the ability to, in the global scope, supply the source energy indefinitely. Components for evaluating sustainability include the particular vehicles used for road, water or air transport; the source of energy; and the infrastructure used to accommodate the transport (roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and terminals). Transport operations and logistics as well as transit-oriented development are also involved in evaluation. Transportation sustainability is largely being measured by transportation system effectiveness and efficiency as well as the environmental and climate impacts of the system.[1] Short-term activity often promotes incremental improvement in fuel efficiency and vehicle emissions controls while long-term goals include migrating transportation from fossil-bas ...more...

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Human overpopulation

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Human overpopulation

Graph of human population from 10000 BCE to 2000 CE. It shows exponential rise in world population that has taken place since the eighteenth century. World population v3 Map of population density by country, per square kilometer. (See List of countries by population density.) Areas of high population densities, calculated in 1994 Map of countries and territories by fertility rate (See List of countries and territories by fertility rate.) Human population growth rate in percent, with the variables of births, deaths, immigration, and emigration – 2013 Human overpopulation (or population overshoot) occurs when the ecological footprint of a human population in a specific geographical location exceeds the carrying capacity of the place occupied by that group. Overpopulation can further be viewed, in a long term perspective, as existing if a population cannot be maintained given the rapid depletion of non-renewable resources or given the degradation of the capacity of the environment to give support ...more...

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Globalization issues

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United Nations Millennium Declaration

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United Nations Millennium Declaration

On 8 September 2000, following a three-day Millennium Summit of world leaders at the headquarters of the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted the Millennium Declaration (Resolution 55/2).[1] A follow-up outcome of the resolution was passed by the General Assembly on 14 December 2000 to guide its implementation. Progress on implementation of the Declaration was reviewed at the 2005 World Summit of leaders.[2][3] The Declaration includes 8 chapters and 32 paragraphs. Chapters The Millennium Declaration has eight chapters and key objectives, adopted by 189 world leaders during the summit: The Declaration, after the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, stresses the observance of international human rights law and international humanitarian law under the Principles of United Nations Charter as well as the treaties on sustainable development. The Declaration also urges observance of the Olympic truce individually and collectively. Values and Principles Freedom Equality Solidarity Toleranc ...more...

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United Nations General Assembly resolutions

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Cement-bonded wood fiber

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Cement-bonded wood fiber

Cement-bonded wood fiber is a composite material manufactured throughout the world. It is made from wood (usually waste wood), chipped into a specially graded aggregate that is then mineralized and combined with portland cement. Uses Cement-bonded wood fiber is used to manufacture a wide variety of products primarily for the construction industry (products like insulating concrete forms, siding materials and noise barriers). Cement bonded wood fiber materials can be classified as low density, medium density and high density. The density of the material will determine to a large extent, the various properties of the end product. Other factors determining the overall performance of a cement bonded wood fiber material are: Wood particle type Wood particle gradation cement to wood ratio Level of sugar content in the wood particle at the time of bonding Most common is low-density cement bonded wood fiber. It is known for its use in LEED-certified projects and other types of green building. The material i ...more...

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Sustainable architecture

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Committee on Sustainability Assessment

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Committee on Sustainability Assessment

The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) is a global consortium of development institutions that work collaboratively to advance the systematic and science-based measurement of sustainability in agriculture. COSA applies a pragmatic and collective approach for using scientific methods to develop indicators and tools to measure sustainability through performance monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment. These sustainability measurements assess the distinct social, environmental and economic impacts of agricultural practices.[1][2] COSA’s approach and indicators have a basis in international treaties and normative references such as the International Labour Organization eight fundamental Conventions, the World Health Organization Guidelines for Water Quality and the International Finance Corporation. The indicators align with internationally recognized accords including the United Nations Global Compact, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, an ...more...

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Outline of sustainability

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Outline of sustainability

Venn diagram of sustainable development: at the confluence of three constituent parts[1] The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sustainability: Sustainability – capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship and responsible resource management. Essence of sustainability Sustainability Environmentalism Environmental ethics Sustainable development Sustainability science Sustainability accounting Sustainability governance Sustainability education Taxonomy Sustainabiity is divided into two main branches: sustainability science and sustainability governance. Each of these branches is divided into a number of subfields: Sub-fields of sustainability science Sustainability science Environmental impact assessment Environmental psychology Environmental philosophy Environmental law Sustainability measurement Sub-field ...more...

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Carbon accounting

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Carbon accounting

Carbon accounting refers generally to processes undertaken to "measure" amounts of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted by an entity. It is used by nation states, corporations, individuals – to create the carbon credit commodity traded on carbon markets (or to establish the demand for carbon credits). Correspondingly, examples for products based upon forms of carbon accounting can be found in national inventories, corporate environmental reports or carbon footprint calculators. Likening sustainability measurement, as an instance of ecological modernisation discourses and policy, carbon accounting is hoped to provide a factual ground for carbon-related decision-making. However, social scientific studies of accounting challenge this hope,[1] pointing to the socially constructed character of carbon conversion factors[2] or of the accountants' work practice[3] which cannot implement abstract accounting schemes into reality.[4] While natural sciences claim to know and measure carbon, for organisations it is usually ...more...

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Cultural sustainability

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Cultural sustainability

The Three Pillars of Sustainability A sustainability profile for Johannesburg using the Circles of Sustainability approach that includes culture as one of its major domains.[1] Cultural sustainability as it relates to sustainable development (to sustainability), has to do with the maintaining of cultural beliefs, cultural practices, heritage conservation, culture as its own entity, and attempts to answer the question of whether or not any given cultures will exist in the context of the future.[2] Culture is defined as a set of beliefs, morals, methods, and a collection of human knowledge that is dependent on the transmission of these characteristics to younger generations.[3] Sustainability is defined as the ability to sustain or continue.[4] The two concepts have been intertwined within social and political domains, and as such, have become one of the more important concepts of sustainability. First mentioned in 1995, cultural sustainability also presents viable options within the realm of social p ...more...

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New Resource Bank

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New Resource Bank

New Resource Bank is a San Francisco, California-based bank which is a part of Amalgamated Bank.[1][2][3][4][5] The bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and offers a range of commercial loan and deposit products, specializing in renewable and alternative energy, green building, organic food, and green products and services. It also offers personal banking accounts. New Resource’s lending decisions factor in a sustainability measurement. The bank's goal is a loan portfolio invested 100 percent in businesses that are advancing sustainability. All new loan recipients must be green businesses or committed to improving their operational sustainability and managing their impact on society and the environment.[6][7] New Resource is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values,[8] a Green America certified business,[9] and a San Francisco certified Green Business.[10] Vince Siciliano, the current CEO of New Resource Bank, is also an advisory board member of the American S ...more...

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Banks based in California

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Human population planning

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Human population planning

A world map showing countries by fertility rate per woman, 2015. (See List of countries and territories by fertility rate.)   7–8 children   6–7 children   5–6 children   4–5 children   3–4 children   2–3 children   1–2 children   0–1 children Human population planning is the practice of intentionally managing the rate of growth of a human population. Historically human population planning has been implemented with the goal of increasing the rate of human population growth. However, in the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, concerns about global population growth and its effects on poverty, environmental degradation and political stability led to efforts to reduce human population growth rates. More recently, some countries, such as Iran and Spain, have begun efforts to increase their birth rates once again. While population planning can involve measures that improve people's lives by giving them greater control of their reproduction, a few programs, most notably the Chinese govern ...more...

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Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded...

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Ecolabel

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Ecolabel

Classification of eco-labels Eco-labels and Green Stickers are labeling systems for food and consumer products. Ecolabels are voluntary, but green stickers are mandated by law; for example, in North America major appliances and automobiles use Energy Star. They are a form of sustainability measurement directed at consumers, intended to make it easy to take environmental concerns into account when shopping. Some labels quantify pollution or energy consumption by way of index scores or units of measurement, while others assert compliance with a set of practices or minimum requirements for sustainability or reduction of harm to the environment. Many ecolabels are focused on minimising the negative ecological impacts of primary production or resource extraction in a given sector or commodity through a set of good practices that are captured in a sustainability standard. Through a verification process, usually referred to as "certification", a farm, forest, fishery, orbel. The last few years have seen two key tr ...more...

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Environmental social science concepts

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Natural building

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Natural building

A natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology. As Michael G. Smith observes, it depends on "local ecology, geology and climate; on the character of the particular building site, and on the needs and personalities of the builders and users."[1] The basis of natural building is the need to lessen the environmental impact of buildings and other supporting systems, without sacrificing comfort or health. To be more sustainable, natural building uses primarily abundantly available, renewable, reused or recycled materials. The use of rapidly renewable materials is increasingly a focus. In addition to relying on natura ...more...

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Garden features

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Urban density

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Urban density

Urban density is a term used in urban planning and urban design to refer to the number of people inhabiting a given urbanized area. As such it is to be distinguished from other measures of population density. Urban density is considered an important factor in understanding how cities function. Research related to urban density occurs across diverse areas, including economics, health, innovation, psychology and geography as well as sustainability. Sustainability A graph showing the relationship between urban density and petrol use. It is commonly asserted that higher density cities are more sustainable than low density cities. Much urban planning theory, particularly in North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand has been developed premised on raising urban densities, such as New Urbanism, Transit-oriented development, and Smart growth. However, the link between urban density and aspects of sustainability remains a contested area of planning theory.[1] Jan Gehl, prominent Urban Designer and exper ...more...

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Urban studies and planning

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UL (safety organization)

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UL (safety organization)

UL is a global safety consulting and certification company headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. It maintains offices in 46 countries. Established in 1894 as the Underwriters' Electrical Bureau (a bureau of the National Board of Fire Underwriters),[1] it was known throughout the 20th century as Underwriters Laboratories and participated in the safety analysis of many of that century's new technologies.[2] UL is one of several companies approved to perform safety testing by the U.S. federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).[3] OSHA maintains a list of approved testing laboratories, which are known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.[4] History UL headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois Underwriters Laboratories Inc. was founded in 1894 by William Henry Merrill.[2] Early in his career as an electrical engineer in Boston, a 25-year-old Merrill was sent to investigate the World Fair's Palace of Electricity. Upon seeing a growing potential in his field, Merrill stayed in ...more...

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Started in 1894 in the United States

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Triple bottom line

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Triple bottom line

Graphic describing the three types of bottom lines Triple bottom line (or otherwise noted as TBL or 3BL) is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial. Some organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value.[1] The term was coined by John Elkington in 1994.[2] In traditional business accounting and common usage, the "bottom line" refers to either the "profit" or "loss", which is usually recorded at the very bottom line on a statement of revenue and expenses. Over the last 50 years, environmentalists and social justice advocates have struggled to bring a broader definition of bottom line into public consciousness by introducing full cost accounting. For example, if a corporation shows a monetary profit, but their asbestos mine causes thousands of deaths from asbestosis, and their copper mine pollutes a river, and the government ends up spending taxpayer money on health care an ...more...

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Sustainable business

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Sustainable business

Sustainable business, or a green business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy—a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. Often, sustainable businesses have progressive environmental and human rights policies. In general, business is described as green if it matches the following four criteria:[1] It incorporates principles of sustainability into each of its business decisions. It supplies environmentally friendly products or services that replaces demand for nongreen products and/or services. It is greener than traditional competition. It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations. A sustainable business is any organization that participates in environmentally friendly or green activities to ensure that all processes, products, and manufacturing activities adequately address current environmental concerns while maintaining a profit. In other words, it is a business ...more...

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Business models

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Overfishing

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Overfishing

Overfishing is the removal of a species of fish from a body of water at a rate that the species cannot replenish in time, resulting in those species either becoming depleted or very underpopulated in that given area. Overfishing has spread all over the globe and has been present for centuries.[1] 400 tons of jack mackerel caught by a Chilean purse seiner Overfishing can occur in water bodies of any sizes, such as ponds, rivers, lakes or oceans, and can result in resource depletion, reduced biological growth rates and low biomass levels. Sustained overfishing can lead to critical depensation, where the fish population is no longer able to sustain itself. Some forms of overfishing, for example the overfishing of sharks, has led to the upset of entire marine ecosystems.[2] The ability of a fishery to recover from overfishing depends on whether the ecosystem's conditions are suitable for the recovery. Dramatic changes in species composition can result in an ecosystem shift, where other equilibrium energy fl ...more...

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Environmental controversies

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Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

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Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides data and information to track Canada's performance on key environmental sustainability issues including climate change and air quality, water quality and availability, and protecting nature. The environmental indicators are based on objective and comprehensive information and convey environmental trends in a straightforward and transparent manner. The indicators are prepared by Environment Canada with the support of other federal government departments, such as Health Canada, Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as provincial and territorial government departments. Designed to be relevant to the Government's policy, the indicators are built on rigorous methodology and high quality, regularly available data from surveys and monitoring networks. The CESI website ensures that national, regional, local and international trends are readily accessible and transparently presented to all Ca ...more...

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Environmental statistics

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Red tide

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Red tide

A red tide off the coast of La Jolla, San Diego, California. Red tide in the harbor Red tide is a common name for a worldwide phenomenon known as an algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms—protozoans or unicellular algae) when it is caused by species of dinoflagellates and other organisms. Overview Introduction Certain species of phytoplankton and dinoflagellates found in the red tide contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from brown to red. When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from a rust color to pink to blood red. Specifically, red tide species can be found in oceans, bays and places where freshwater meets saltwater but they can not thrive in freshwater environments due to the lack of salinity. The growth of the algal bloom depends on wind, temperature, nutrients, and salinity.[1][2] Some red tide algal blooms are associated with fish kills. The production of natural toxins such as brevotoxins[ ...more...

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Fisheries

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Nature

Jo Ma (JoMa)

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Measurement of biodiversity

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Measurement of biodiversity

Polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, near the north pole. Conservation biologists have designed a variety of objective means to measure biodiversity empirically. Each measure of biodiversity relates to a particular use of the data. For practical conservationists, measurements should include a quantification of values that are commonly shared among locally affected organisms, including humans. For others, a more economically defensible definition should allow the ensuring of continued possibilities for both adaptation and future use by humans, assuring environmental sustainability. As a consequence, biologists argue that this measure is likely to be associated with the variety of genes. Since it cannot always be said which genes are more likely to prove beneficial, the best choice for conservation is to assure the persistence of as many genes as possible. For ecologists, this latter approach is sometimes considered too restrictive, as it prohibits ecological succession. Taxonomic Diversity Biod ...more...

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Environmental science

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Measurment of biodiversity

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Earth System Governance Project

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Earth System Governance Project

The Earth System Governance Project[1] is a long-term, interdisciplinary social science research programme originally developed under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change.[2] It started in January 2009. The Earth System Governance Project currently consists of a network of ca. 300 active and about 2,300 indirectly involved scholars from all continents. The project has evolved into the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change.[3] The Earth System Governance Project Office is hosted at Lund University, Sweden. Aims The Earth System Governance Project aims to contribute to science on the large, complex challenges of governance in an era of rapid and large-scale environmental change. The project seeks to create a better understanding of the role of institutions, organizations and governance mechanisms by which humans regulate their relationship with the natural environment.[1] The Earth System Govern ...more...

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Social sciences

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EARTH SYSTEM GOVERNANCE

Leon Galindo Stenutz (LeonGalindoStenutz)

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Sustainability reporting

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Sustainability reporting

A sustainability report is an organizational report that gives information about economic, environmental, social and governance performance.[1] Sustainability reporting is not just report generation from collected data; instead it is a method to internalize and improve an organization’s commitment to sustainable development in a way that can be demonstrated to both internal and external stakeholders. History Corporate sustainability reporting has a history going back to environmental reporting. The first environmental reports were published in the late 1980s by companies in the chemical industry which had serious image problems. The other group of early reporters was a group of committed small and medium-sized businesses with very advanced environmental management systems. Additionally, the tobacco industry adopted such reporting much earlier than the rest of the corporate world, in an attempt to attract new investors at a time when ethical investing was becoming increasingly popular. Non-financial report ...more...

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International Sustainability Alliance (ISA)

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International Sustainability Alliance (ISA)

The International Sustainability Alliance (ISA) is a global network of corporate occupiers, property investors, developers and owners of commercial buildings, who share best practice in the sustainable management of their property portfolios. ISA is dedicated to achieving a more sustainable built environment through the better measurement, benchmarking and understanding of building performance. Purpose With 40% of carbon emissions coming from the built environment, real estate owners, occupiers, developers and funders around the world are facing ever increasing demands concerning the need for greater sustainability in existing buildings. ISA is a response to the growing legislative and economic pressure across the world to address building sustainability. It helps members to develop a common understanding of how their buildings perform, what measures can be taken to improve them and what this means in terms of value and return on their investment. ISA has a database of commercial building assets comprising ...more...

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Sustainability organisations

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ISO 14000

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ISO 14000

ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations (a) minimize how their operations (processes, etc.) negatively affect the environment (i.e. cause adverse changes to air, water, or land); (b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and (c) continually improve in the above. ISO 14000 is similar to ISO 9000 quality management in that both pertain to the process of how a product is produced, rather than to the product itself. As with ISO 9001, certification is performed by third-party organizations rather than being awarded by ISO directly. The ISO 19011 and ISO 17021 audit standards apply when audits are being performed. The requirements of ISO 14001 are an integral part of the European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). EMAS's structure and material are more demanding, mainly concerning performance improvement, legal compliance, and reporting duties.[1] The current version of ISO 14001 is I ...more...

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Sustainable energy

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Sustainable energy

Sustainable energy is energy that is consumed at insignificant rates compared to its supply and with manageable collateral effects, especially environmental effects. Another common definition of sustainable energy is an energy system that serves the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their energy needs.[1] Not all renewable energy is sustainable. While renewable energy is defined as energy sources that are naturally replenished on a human timescale, sustainable (often referred to as 'clean') energy must not compromise the system in which it is adopted to the point of being unable to provide for future need. The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains: ecology, economics, politics and culture.[2] Sustainability science is the study of sustainable development and environmental science.[3] Technologies promote sustainable energy including renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, ...more...

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Energy economics

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Supply chain sustainability

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Supply chain sustainability

See also Sustainable Procurement. Supply chain sustainability is a business issue affecting an organization’s supply chain or logistics network in terms of environmental, risk, and waste costs. There is a growing need for integrating environmentally sound choices into supply-chain management.[1] Sustainability in the supply chain is increasingly seen among high-level executives as essential to deliver profitability and has replaced monetary cost, value, and speed as the dominant topic of discussion among purchasing and supply professionals.A sustainable supply chain seizes value creation opportunities and offers significant competitive advantages for early adopters and process innovators.[2] Background Supply chains are critical links that connect an organization’s inputs to its outputs. Traditional challenges have included lowering costs, ensuring just-in-time delivery, and shrinking transportation times to allow better reaction to business challenges. However, the increasing environmental costs of these ...more...

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Distribution, retailing, and wholesaling

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Greenhouse gas

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Greenhouse gas

Greenhouse effect schematic showing energy flows between space, the atmosphere, and Earth's surface. Energy influx and emittance are expressed in watts per square meter (W/m2). A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect.[1] The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of Earth's surface would be about −18 °C (0 °F),[2] rather than the present average of 15 °C (59 °F).[3][4][5] In the Solar System, the atmospheres of Venus, Mars and Titan also contain gases that cause a greenhouse effect. Human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (around 1750) have produced a 40% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO), from 280 ppm in 1750 to 406 ppm in early 2017.[6] This increase has occurred despite the uptake of more ...more...

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Climate forcing agents

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Stuff

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Global Warming

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Weak and strong sustainability

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Weak and strong sustainability

Although related subjects, sustainable development and sustainability are different concepts. Weak sustainability is an idea within environmental economics which states that 'human capital' can substitute 'natural capital'. It is based upon the work of Nobel Laureate Robert Solow[1][2][3] and John Hartwick,.[4][5][6] Contrary to weak sustainability, strong sustainability assumes that "human capital" and "natural capital" are complementary, but not interchangeable. This idea received more political attention as sustainable development discussions evolved in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A key landmark was the Rio Summit in 1992 where the vast majority of nation-states committed themselves to sustainable development. This commitment was demonstrated by the signing of Agenda 21, a global action plan on sustainable development. Weak sustainability has been defined using concepts like human capital and natural capital.[7] Human (or produced) capital incorporates resources such as infrastructure, labour and kno ...more...

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Ecological economics

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Sustainalytics

topic

Sustainalytics

Sustainalytics rates the sustainability of listed companies based on their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance.[1] The company was born from a merger between Toronto-based Jantzi Research, which was founded in 1992 by Sustainalytics' current CEO Michael Jantzi, and its European counterpart.[2] In October 2017, the firm had offices in 14 cities around the world and served more than 450 institutional investor clients. [3] Morningstar collaboration In 2016, Morningstar, Inc. released the first sustainability rating for mutual funds and exchange-traded funds based on Sustainalytics' company ESG research.[4] [5] In 2017, Morningstar, Inc. become a 40% shareholder in the company alongside senior management, Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PGGM), ABN AMRO Group and Renewable Partners [6] Yahoo Finance In 2018, Yahoo Finance started to include Sustainalytics' ESG score for over 2,000 companies.[7] The inclusion of this research that was previously only accessible to instituti ...more...

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Companies based in Amsterdam

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Global catastrophic risk

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Global catastrophic risk

Artist's impression of a major asteroid impact. An asteroid with an impact strength of a billion atomic bombs may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.[1] A global catastrophic risk is a hypothetical future event which could damage human well-being on a global scale,[2] even crippling or destroying modern civilization.[3] An event that could cause human extinction or permanently and drastically curtail humanity's potential is known as an existential risk.[4] Potential global catastrophic risks include anthropogenic risks (technology, governance, climate change) and natural or external risks.[3] Examples of technology risks are hostile artificial intelligence and destructive biotechnology or nanotechnology. Insufficient or malign global governance creates risks in the social and political domain, such as a global war, including nuclear holocaust, bioterrorism using genetically modified organisms, cyberterrorism destroying critical infrastructure like the electrical grid; or the failure to manage a na ...more...

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Teleology

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ISO 19011

topic

ISO 19011

ISO 19011 is an international standard that sets forth guidelines for management systems auditing. It is developed by the International Organization for Standardization. The standard offers four resources to organizations to "save time, effort and money": A clear explanation of the principles of management systems auditing. Guidance on the management of audit programs. Guidance on the conduct of internal or external audits. Advice on the competence and evaluation of auditors. Status Current version:ISO 19011:2013 Target audience: "anyone connected with an (ISO) audit" Country codes: BS EN External links ISO IRCA ASQ See also ISO 9000 ISO 14000 ISO 14001 OHSAS 18000 ISO/IEC 27000 ...more...

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ISO standards

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North American collegiate sustainability programs

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North American collegiate sustainability programs

North American collegiate sustainability programs are institutions of higher education in the United States, Mexico, and Canada that have majors and/or minors dedicated to the subject of sustainability. Sustainability as a major and minor is spreading to more and more colleges as the need for humanity to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle becomes increasingly apparent with the onset of global warming. The majors and minors listed here cover a wide array of sustainability aspects from business to construction to agriculture to simply the study of sustainability itself. Canada Acadia University Acadia University is located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada and offers an undergraduate major in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. This major gives students the skills they need to make the changes necessary to create a more "sustainable and just society".[1] There are four concentration areas (Sustainable Community Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainability, Environmental Thought and Pr ...more...

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Universities and colleges in the United States

Revolvy Brain (revolvybrain)

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Anthropocene

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Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems,including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.[1][2][3] [4][5] As of August 2016, neither the International Commission on Stratigraphy nor the International Union of Geological Sciences has yet officially approved the term as a recognized subdivision of geological time,[3][6][7] although the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), voted to proceed towards a formal golden spike (GSSP) proposal to define the Anthropocene epoch in the Geologic Time Scale and presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress on 29 August 2016.[8] Various different start dates for the Anthropocene have been proposed, ranging from the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 12–15,000 years ago, to as recent as the Trinity test in 1945. As of February 2018, the ratifi ...more...

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Environmental issues with population

Revolvy Brain (revolvybrain)

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Social responsibility

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Social responsibility

Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems. A trade-off may exist between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment,[1] though this has been challenged by many reports over the past decade.[2][3] Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment.[4] This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals. Social responsibility must be intergenerational since the actions of one generation have consequences on those following.[5] Businesses can use ethical decision making to sec ...more...

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Social ethics

Revolvy Brain (revolvybrain)

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Organization Development

Simon Dzokoto (SimonDzokoto)

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Earth system governance

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Earth system governance

Earth system governance is a recently developed paradigm that builds on earlier notions of environmental policy and nature conservation, but puts these into the broader context of human-induced transformations of the entire earth system. It conceptualizes the system of formal and informal rules, rule-making mechanisms and actor-networks at all levels of human society (from local to global) that are set up to steer societies towards preventing, mitigating, and adapting to global and local environmental change and earth system transformation, within the normative context of sustainable development.[1] Introduction The notion of governance refers to forms of steering that are less hierarchical than traditional governmental policy-making (even though most modern governance arrangements will also include some degree of hierarchy), rather decentralized, open to self-organization, and inclusive of non-state actors that range from industry and non-governmental organizations to scientists, indigenous communities, ci ...more...

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Social sciences

Revolvy Brain (revolvybrain)

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GOVERNANCE

Leon Galindo Stenutz (LeonGalindoStenutz)

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