Multidimensional Assessment of Sustainability: Harmony vs. the Turning Point
Stanislav Edward Shmelev
Environment Europe, United Kingdom
Multidimensional assessment of sustainability is a way to reconcile the
need for simultaneous consideration of various indicators of progress beyond GDP growth with a policy focused visualization of multi-dimensional trends in a clear and transparent manner. The various composite measures used for sustainability assessment often hide the trade-offs between economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability. This chapter discusses indicators used for sustainability analysis at the macro scale and offers a multi-criteria sustainability assessment framework. It discusses results that were obtained in sustainability assessments for the USA, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Britain and Russia. The Multicriteria Decision Aid tool, Aggregated Preference Index System (APIS) is used for the assessment with the following three headline indicators: GDP per capita; CO 2 emissions and Life Expectancy at birth. The indicators represent economic, environmental
and social dimensions respectively. The multidimensional assessment is designed with two different policy priorities: priority of economic over environmental and social dimension versus priority of environmental and social dimensions over economic. Results help to identify countries, where economic development happened at the expense of environmental and social dimension and lead to policy conclusions.