Sustainability Assessment - criteria, processes and applications

Robert B. Gibson, Selma Hassan, Susan Holtz, James Tansey and Graham Whitelaw 
Earthscan  October 2005  

Hardback  240 pp  ISBN 9781844070503      £90.00

Paperback  240 pp  ISBN 9781844070510      £30.00
Many governments express commitments to sustainability, yet until now assessing sustainability in projects, plans, programmes and policies has been largely limited to traditional environmental assessment (EA) with an imperfect attempt to staple on biophysical and socio-economic considerations. While traditional EA focuses on mitigating negative effects, achieving true sustainability demands that each new undertaking make a positive contribution to desirable and durable futures.

This onerous goal can only be achieved if decision makers are able to consciously and publicly specify and use sustainability-centred criteria to justify options and to weigh trade-offs. Sustainability Assessment covers all aspects of the core requirements of sustainability including the creation of basic criteria, handling trade-offs, practicalities in application, implications for process design and uses in decision-making, as well as examining the range of tools and innovative examples available to assist implementation of sustainability assessment.


  • Preface: Matchmaking (Environmental Assessment and Sustainability)
  • Beginnings: Stumbling Towards Sustainability Assessment
  • Assessment: Thirty-some Years of Environmental Assessment
  • Sustainability: The Essentials of the Concept
  • Practice: Sustainability in Illustrative Initiatives
  • Criteria: Sustainability Requirements as Core Criteria for Evaluations and Decisions
  • Trade-offs: Facing Conflict and Compromise
  • Processes: Designing and Using Sustainability Assessment Processes
  • Implementation: Sustainability Assessment Applications and Implications
  • Continuations: What May Lie Ahead
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Earthscan : design : environmental science : sustainable development

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