Compared to what?
That’s the key question this report asks, when it comes to assessing sustainable development performance. So-called sustainable development indicators abound, but do they actually do
what they purport
to do? Not really
, argues Bill Baue in this report: almost no current sustainable development indicators, that is, actually indicate sustainable development.
To answer this question, it helps to ask, compared to what?
Current sustainable development indicators typically compare performance to incremental goalposts – less this, less that
– which, of course, doesn’t actually tell us anything about the sustainability
of the impacts.
To remedy this, the report invokes the Sustainability Quotient (S = A/N), which compares actual
impacts (in the numerator) to normative
impacts (in the denominator) to calibrate sustainability
, an internationally recognized expert on Thriveability, Sustainability Context, and Online Stakeholder Engagement, is a co-founder of r3.0, Sustainability Context Group, Sea Change Radio, and Currnt. He currently serves as Senior Director of r3.0, where he oversees the Blueprint Projects that are crowdsourcing redesign templates for the fields of reporting, accounting, data, new business models, sustainable finance, and value cycles. He is also currently leading the establishment of the Global Thresholds & Allocations Council, and is undertaking research for the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in addition to UNRISD. Bill Baue has worked with organizations across the sustainability ecosystem, including Audubon, Cabot Creamery Coop, Ceres, GE, Harvard, United Nations Environment Programme, Walmart, and Worldwatch Institute. He serves on the Technical Advisory Group of the Science Based Targets initiative, and as a Senior Advisor to Preventable Surprises.