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Transition challenge for sustainability assessment

Bond, A. and Morrison-Saunders, A. (2010) Transition challenge for sustainability assessment. In: IAIA10 Transitioning to the Green Economy, 30th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 6 - 11 April, Geneva, Switzerland

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We are particularly interested in the transition of traditional impact assessment into sustainability assessment (SA) to help deliver the 'Green Economy', which is analogous with environmentally sustainable development. We present five theoretical and practical challenges that practitioners face when attempting to implement SA and suggest ways forward to address these, based on our own observations of SA practice in England and Western Australia and some key published works. The SA challenges that we address are (1) agreeing on the meaning of sustainability, (2) tailoring the definition of sustainability for the decision at hand, (3) factoring in long-term time horizons, (4) maintaining a holistic approach, and (5) delivering sustainable outcomes (not just sustainability oriented processes). We provide discussion and examples of each followed by a concluding section in which we reflect on the way ahead with respect to the challenges of transitioning to the green economy through SA.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
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