Publication: Environment, Devepment and Systainability
Author(s): De Olde E, Moller H, Marchand F, McDowell RW, MacLeod CJ, Sautier M, Halloy S, Barber A, Benge J, Bockstaller C, Bokkers E, de Boer IJM, Legun K, LeQuellec I, Meffield C, Oudshoom FW, Reid J, Schader C, Szymanski E, S√∏rensen, CAG, Whitehead J, Manhire J
Sustainability indicators are well recognized for their potential to assess and monitor sustainable development of agricultural systems. A large number of indicators are proposed in various sustainability assessment frameworks, which raises concerns regarding the validity of approaches, usefulness and trust in such frameworks. Selecting indicators requires transparent and well-defined procedures to ensure the relevance and validity of sustainability assessments. The objective of this study was to determine whether experts agree on which criteria are most important in the selection of indicators and indicator sets for robust sustainability assessments. Ranking surveys completed by experts in the Temperate Agriculture Research Network and New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard reveal a startling lack of consensus about how best to measure agricultural sustainability and call for a radical rethink about how sustainability assessments are used to ensure maximum collaboration and trust. The process by which indicators and sustainability frameworks are established could make assessments more transparent, transformative and enduring.