Sustainable Development



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Sustainable Development
Jean Chesson, 22 October 2013

Connecting practice with theory

MDB Futures Workshop

Acknowledgments



Chesson, J. 2013. Sustainable development: Connecting practice with theory. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 15(1).

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Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson

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Outline

Identify a problem

Propose a solution

Describe its advantages
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Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson

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The problem


Sustainable Development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED 1987)

Using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that ecological processes on which life depends are maintained and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased (National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development 1992)

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Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson
Is it sustainable?

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A solution




Theory

Development is sustained along a development path if welfare does not decrease at any point along the path

Future welfare is closely linked to current assets

Changes in real asset values for a sufficiently broad array of assets are sufficient to guide policy and determine the direction of change of social welfare
(Hamilton & Atkinson,2006)
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Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson
Assets

Human capital

Social capital

Produced capital

Natural capital
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Adapted from Joint Perspectives Model, BOM 2013
Natural capital

Human & social capital

$$$

Sustainable development is a global concept, but most of us operate at smaller scales 22 October 2013



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When acting locally

Ask ‘How does a player contribute to sustainable development?’

Different players have different mixes of assets

A player’s contributions to sustainable development are made up of:

Changes in the value* of their own assets

Their impacts on the assets of others
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Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson 11 *Value to society as a whole
Example 1: Household

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Own assets

Impact on others’ assets

Human capital

Health Education

Provision of services

Social capital

Relationships Networks

Community contributions

Produced capital

Home, car Other goods

Infrastructure use

Natural capital

Land* (house block, garden plot, rural property)










Water, energy & materials use Greenhouse gas emissions

*’Land’ includes associated soil, vegetation and biota.


Example 2: Horticulture industry 22 October 2013 Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson

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Own assets

Impact on others’ assets

Human capital

Workforce

Potential impacts on individuals, industries and communities

Social capital

Formal/informal networks Industry institutions

Produced capital

Plant & machinery

Horticultural products

Natural capital

Land* Genetic material

Chemical pollutants







Water, energy & materials use Greenhouse gas emissions

*’Land’ includes associated soil, vegetation and biota.


Example 3: Fishery 22 October 2013

Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson

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Own assets

Impact on others’ assets

Human capital

Workforce

Potential impacts on individuals, industries and communities

Social capital

Formal/informal networks Industry institutions

Produced capital

Boats, infrastructure

Fish products

Natural capital

Fish stocks

Impact on aquatic ecosystems







Water, energy & materials use Greenhouse gas emissions

Example 4: Island nation 22 October 2013

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Own assets

Impact on others’ assets

Human capital

Residents, citizens

Foreign aid

Social capital

Domestic institutions & relationships

International institutions and relationships

Produced capital

Buildings, infrastructure, goods and products

Import and export of goods

Natural capital

Land*

Harvesting from international waters




Subsoil resources Water resources

Greenhouse gas emissions Emissions to oceans

*’Land’ includes associated soil, vegetation and biota.

5-Step Procedure
1.Identify the player
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5-Step Procedure

1.Identify the player

2.Determine assets belonging to player and assets belonging to others that are affected by the player
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5-Step Procedure

1.Identify the player

2.Determine assets belonging to player and assets belonging to others that are affected by the player

3.Specify desired outcomes

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Step 3: Desired outcomes

For each asset belonging to the player describe the desired state of that asset

For each asset belonging to others, specify whether the player’s impact should be reduced, maintained or increased

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5-Step Procedure


1.Identify the player

2.Determine assets belonging to player and assets belonging to others that are affected by the player

3.Specify desired outcomes

4.Develop a measurement process

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Step 4: Development a measurement process


•For each asset belonging to the player, use the change in the state of the asset as an indicator of the contribution of the player to sustainable development

•For each asset belonging to others, use the impact of the player on the asset as an indicator of the contribution of the player to sustainable development

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5-Step Procedure


1.Identify the player

2.Determine assets belonging to player and assets belonging to others that are affected by the player

3.Specify desired outcomes

4.Develop a measurement process



5.Link results to decision-making and action

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Hypothetical example: Region A


•Mainly rural with two towns and several villages

•Major agriculture and forestry industries

•Several parks and nature reserves

•Some industry including a carpet manufacturing plant

•Parts vulnerable to flash flooding

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22 October 2013 Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson 26 Increase participation rate in post high school education or training to 75% within 5 years

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Increase participation in decision making

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Maintain value of buildings and infrastructure

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•Capacity to produce food & fibre

•Capacity to provide biodiversity conservation services

•Capacity to provide regulating services

•Capacity to provide cultural services

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Interactions with other players
•Examples

–Forest managers – Montreal process

–Businesses – Global Reporting Index

–Products – Good Environmental Choice label for wood carpets

•Most existing schemes have elements of an asset-based approach

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Advantages



Advantages of an asset-based approach
Direct connection to theoretical interpretation of sustainable development

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Advantages of an asset-based approach


•Direct connection to theoretical interpretation of sustainable development

Integrates many existing reporting schemes



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Pressure-State-Response


•PSR framework developed by OECD is widely used

•Human activities exert pressures on environment that affect its state

•Society responds through changes in awareness, policies and behaviour

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Extending the PSR framework
•PSR framework is a global-level framework

•For a local player

–‘state’ needs to include the condition of assets belonging to the player plus the impacts the player has on assets belonging to others

–‘pressure’ is the impact of other players on the player’s assets

•The actions/responses of each player exert pressures on other players

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Advantages of an asset-based approach
•Direct connection to theoretical interpretation of sustainable development

•Integrates many existing reporting schemes

Provides a basis for determining when information can be combined to report at different scales

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Combining performance information


•Can combine condition information

•Can combine impact information

•Cannot mix condition and impact information

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Combining performance information 22 October 2013 Department of Agriculture Connecting Practice to Theory, Jean Chesson 42

Advantages of an asset-based approach


•Direct connection to theoretical interpretation of sustainable development

•Integrates many existing reporting schemes

•Provides a basis for determining when information can be combined to report at different scales

Aligns with governance issues



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Governance


•When several players have an impact on an asset that does not belong to them, a governance arrangement is needed

–Kyoto protocol

–Water management agency

•If the same asset ‘belongs’ to more than one player, relationships need to be clarified

–Land ‘belonging’ to a farmer, catchment management agency and to a region

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Conclusion



Conclusion
•The asset-based approach to reporting on sustainable development is a simple, easily-implemented idea with a lot of advantages

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