Measurement of sustainable development

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3.4     The mathematical model (see Restoration of the Planet)

The definition of sustainable development
The weighting method
The impact equation
The four interacting circles
Assessment categories
The components of the four major quality systems
*      People or social aspects
*     Environment aspects
*     Economic development aspects
*     Availability of resources aspects
Scoring method for performance
The Scale of Values obtained from the survey, guess-estimated and standard
Impact equation example: Forestry
The GSDP expression

The definition of sustainable development

The concept of Sustainable Development was presented for the first time in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, in the report Our Common Future . The commission was created by the United Nations, and was made of 21 nations, including Canada.

The commission, headed by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, said that the planet needs " a new era of environmentally sustainable sound economic development." Dr. Brundtland also said that "government must strongly support a new political approach to environment and development, where economic and fiscal policies, trade and foreign policies, energy, agriculture, industry, and other sectorial policies, all aim to induce development that is not only economically but ecologically sustainable."

Beginning in 1987, the author of the present paper has researched and developed the complete definition of Sustainable Development as well as creating a method of measurement. The technical definition of Sustainable Development was given as being :

"a sound balance among the interactions of the impacts (positive and/or negative), or stresses, on the four major quality systems: People, Economic Development, Environment and Availability of Resources."

The non-technical definition was given as being:

"a sound balance among the interactions designed to create a healthy economic growth, preserve environmental quality, make wise use of our resources, and enhance social benefits."

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The weighting method

Developing a scale of values and designing and testing quality indicators is the most important task. The Gross Environmental Sustainable Development Index (GESDI) is quantitatively describing quality indicators rather than merely measuring different variables. GESDI includes all possible aspects, all physical, biological, health, social and cultural components which routinely influences the lives of individuals and communities.

If we are to achieve effective evaluation of quality, comprehensive data are needed about the status and changes of the variables. Optimally, these data may be organized in terms of indices that in some fashion aggregate relevant data. These indices are in turn used to predict the impact of public and private actions, assess conditions and trends, and determine the effectiveness of programs in all areas.

For instance, reliable data are needed to evaluate the effects of human activities on the environment and to determine what possible actions that can be done to ameliorate the adverse effects. The quality of urban environment constitutes a major test of the level of the well-being of a nation as a society. Essential elements of an adequate urban environment include the following parts: * Health care system, * Educational system, * Seniors'care, * Food chain, nutrition, * Population growth, * Farming communities, * Parks, * Psychological, biological, genetics and evolution, * Spiritual pathways, * Entertainment, * Quality of life, customs and beliefs, information access, communication, aesthetics * Decent housing, suitable community services, * Pollution, waste, * An atmosphere of social justice, * Family stability, * Religion, * Infrastructures and facilities, land planning, * Juvenile crimes, gangs, drugs, illiteracy, * Socio-cultural and political influences, multi-culturalism, laws, * Anthropological, Aboriginals, Natives issues.

Knowing what are the important elements of sustainable development allows us to structure indicators into major areas such as demographic data; the economic data of the individual, family, and household; the status of the region's economy; housing, community facilities, and aesthetic quality; social quality. Here also the weights given to the different segments of the evaluation were obtained or guess-estimated from the results of the Survey on the Scale of Values.

Indexes are dimensionless and discrete.

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The impact equation

GESDI can be determined by defining an impact or stress equation which itself separates ecological balance and pollution into basic sustainable development impacts. An impact or stress I is created by the interactions between four major quality systems: People, Economic Developmen, Environment and Availability of Resources.

The function I is a product of four index scales of assessments: U, G, P and C. Each product indicates the relative importance of a given impact, or stress, with respect to the four major quality systems.

Ii = Ii,E + Ii,AR + Ii,PA + Ii,ED

where Ii,E = Ui Gi Pi ( W C )i,E

Ii,PA = Ui Gi Pi ( W C )i,PA

Ii,AR = Ui Gi Pi ( W C )i,AR

Ii,ED = Ui Gi Pi ( W C )i,ED

and where E, PA, AR and ED represent the components of the four major quality systems.

The components of the Economic Development system, ED, relate to progress whether it is economically at home, in our community, or in the ways of doings things. New ways of doing things pervade this system. The ideal is to find safe ways of doing things. More and more new consumer products and building materials are brought into the market every year. With less and less government it is getting harder to control all what is brought on the market and therefore more of the non-safe types of products will appear. How do we protect a population from such products? Competitive forces will not necessarily be helping improving the environment and our health.

The components of the People or Social system, PA, relate to human activities and their actions, interactions and reactions. The social and economic well-being of the people and their health are pivotal points for this system.

The components of the Environment system, E, refer to the media through which impacts are transmitted. Each component interacts with other components in the system as well as with components in all other systems.

If only the impacts, or stresses related to the Environment are considered then Ii is called the Environmental Quality Equation and the results obtained here are an Environmental Sustainable Developmen.If only the impacts, or stresses related to the Economic Development are considered then the results obtained here are a Sustainable Economic Development. If only the impacts, or stresses related to People are considered then the results obtained are a Sustainable Community Development and a Sustainable Home Developmen. In each case, impacts or stresses must be made to interact with all four major quality systems.

The Urgency index, U, expresses the importance of the need to find a solution to the stress within a reasonable period of time or else the impact will cause significant damages to components of the four major quality systems.

The Geographical Extent index, G, expresses the significant detectable geographical extent of the stress or impact, and includes all major media and modes of transportation and communications.

The Persistence index, P, expresses the period of time during which the effects of the stress or impact will still be felt at a significant level.

The Number of Interactions index, C, describes the relative complexity of the stress or impact while interacting with each of the four major quality systems. An interaction is counted whether it was documented, or is likely or expected to occur. The weight, W, expresses the probability or a judgment value of an interaction and its degree of importance. Results of the Survey on the Scale of Values were used to guess-estimate the weights for the impacts.

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The four interacting circles

The four interacting circles are quality systems. They are used because together they form a neat geometric expression about a complicated intellectual concept. They represent interactions. These interactions occur between the systems and within each individual system.

Here same-size circles represent mathematical local/global indicators that have been developed for assessing and measuring sustainable development within four equally-important realities in local/global life. The scale (to be presented during the World Congress) used within the mathematical model reflects the importance of each quality system in ensuring a sound future for Earth.

People need a healthy environment and resources for industry. Businesses cannot thrive without people or resources. Economic stability depends on people, resources, and good businesses. And all of the above cannot exist without environment.

The four interacting circles are a simplistic expression of our need for one another, our interaction, the thoughtless damage we can cause. We are worlds within worlds orbiting in and through each other’s space. This interaction can be planned and executed in a caring, considerate manner so that all may exist and not destroy the other.

The impact equation defines the four interacting circles.

Ii = Ui Gi Pi (( W C )i,E+ ( W C )i,PA+( W C )i,AR+ ( W C )i,ED)

The following is the design depicting the impact interactions.

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Assessment categories

The urgency index, U, described in the mathematical model, is one of the four indices of the equation for the evaluation of impacts. It is the index or variable that reflects the level of responsibility we are willing to take to solve the problem, impact or concern. It reflects the importance of the need to find a solution to the stress within a reasonable period of time or else the impact will cause significant damages and will be felt by the next generations to come.

The scale is as follows. The minimum value is 1 and is equivalent to saying that the impact is not important and may be resolved within a century. The maximum value is 10 and is equivalent to saying that the impact is very important, no waiting allowed, so as to ensure a sound future for Earth.

The values between 1 and 10 were defined here.

For instance, the impact of pollutants on a groundwater system. Someone in the community would have enough knowledge and experience to say whether it is equivalent to the minimum value of 1 which in turn is equivalent to saying that the impact is not important, what causes the impact may be let go, or that it may be resolved within a century.

Or the impact is equivalent to the maximum value of 10 which in turn is equivalent to saying that the impact is very important, no waiting allowed, so as to ensure a sound future for Earth. A personal judgement is made as to what the answer may be between 1 and 10. If noone in the community can answer the question than an environmental assessment would be appropriate in this case. Sometimes a rough estimate from someone with experience is all that is needed.

We want to find the impact of people activity on the environment, the availability of resources, economic development and onto themselves.

The following table is a guide to follow.

Index value           Urgency or importance index, U
                            The impact, problem or concern may be resolved:

          1                (not important, the cause of the impact may be let go)
                                                   within a century

          2                                      within five decades

          3                                       within one decade

          4                                       within five years

          5                                       within three years

          6                                       within one year

          7                                       within six months

          8                                       within three months

          9                                       within one month

          10                            (very important) no waiting allowed

The components of assessment categories are listed here with their index scales.

Index value  Urgency index, U  Geographical Extent index, G  Persistence index, P 
  Must be resolved:  The extent or growth is within:  Will last for: 
within a century
a community
within 5 decades
a city
within 1 decade
a province of Canada
within 5 years
a region of Canada
within 3 years
Canada as a country
half a year
in a year's time
Canada and U.S.A.
a year
within 6 months
within three months
the Americas
a decade
within one month
the Americas.E.C.,Pacific Rim
now,no waiting
a century

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The components of the four major quality systems
The components of the four major quality systems are partially described here. These components are needed in the impact equation.

People or social aspects:      155

Environment aspects:       57

Availability of resources aspects:      21

Economic development aspects:       74

These components are listed below.

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People or social aspects

1. Employment by occupation and economic activity
2. Traffic and Congestion
3. Taxes
4. Quality of Life
5. Prevention and control of infectious diseases
6. Social Services
7. Food chain
8. Senior’s care
9. Farming communities
10. Psychological
11. Biological
12. Parks
13. Genetics
14. Evolution
15. Spiritual pathways
16. Entertainment
17. Customs and beliefs
18. Communications
19. Decent housing
20. Suitable community services
21. Aesthetics
22. Juvenile crimes
23. Gangs
24. Family stability
25. Religion
26. Infrastructures and facilities
27. Land planning
28. Socio-cultural and political influences
29. Multi-culturalism
30. Aboriginals, Natives
31. Illiteracy
32. Healthy environment
33. Health care
34. Health sector reform
35. Health is affected by chemical contamination of air, water , and food; exposure to hazardous wastes; social diseases of violence and crime; traffic; accidents
36. Interactions between health, human development, and environment
37. Wars
38. Tolerance and peace between countries
39. Conflicts
40. Security
41. Intellectual Property Rights
42. Human Rights
43. Social Justice
44. Interaction between socioeconomic development and ecological change (and in terms of species destruction, settlement patterns, population size and distribution, resource depletion, waste generation, consumption practices, environmental degradation and social pathology)
45. Rising rates of violence and delinquency
46. Cross-border pollution agreements
47. Government measures for the conservation and wise use of natural resources
48. Disabled
49. Aging
50. Cultural Diversity
51. Sharing of ecologically sound technologies between countries
52. Joint actions between countries
53. Relations among local communities and sustainable development
54. Indigenous Peoples
55. Minority Ethnic Groups
56. Children
57. Youth
58. Distribution of Income
59. Consumption
60. Food Production
61. Malnutrition
62. Eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition
63. Trade Unions
64. Public Hearings
65. Referendums
66. Citizen Advisory Boards
67. Crime
68. Drugs
69. Sexual Diseases
70. Public Administration
71. Pollution Prevention
72. Incorporation of environmental education along with multiethnic, pluricultural, and multilingual education in school
73. Education: access, by gender, distance learning, school programs
74. Quality of Education: public and private schools, college, university, institute of technology
75. Promote education projects that are relevant to sustainable development
76. Science and Technology
77. Training
78. Unemployment
79. Health: services, cost
80. Environmental effects on health
81. Population
82. Language
83. Cultural Characteristics
84. Demographics
85. Human Settlements
86. Life Expectancy
87. Poverty
88. First Nations
89. Poverty Alleviation
90. Community Empowerment
91. Community Actions
92. Promotion of Environmental Awareness
93. Schools
94. Wealth
95. Government actions and instruments to prevent and control pollution and harmful impacts on natural resources and the environment
96. Laws, Regulations, Guidelines: municipal, national and international
97. Laws, Regulations, Guidelines and their effectiveness in specific regions
98. National Environmental Institutions
99. Mechanisms for citizen participation
100. Declarations, action plans of worldwide scope
101. Electronic consultation
102. International Treaties and other binding and nonbinding instruments concerning the sustainable development
103. Local Authorities
104. Non-Government Organizations
105. Government Commitment
106. Global Agreements and Commitments
107. Living Standards
108. Land Use
109. Surface Areas
110. Urbanization
111. Home and Community Development
112. Measurement of Indicators
113. Monitoring
114. Making results of measurements available on the Internet
115. Globalization
116. Social well-being
117. Opportunity for youth
118. Improving quality of family life
119. Developing healthy lifestyles
120. Home and community development
121. Serving as the Global Community Assessment Centre of indicators about global changes
122. Dedicated to increasing public awareness about issues of global concern
123· Working in cooperation with individuals, industry, and government to create a global value shift toward a sustainable future for Earth
124· Disseminating information on sustainable development
125· Promoting international cooperation and a Global Community Sustainable Development through seminars and conferences, and a World Congress
126· Providing strategies for global communities to achieve environmental, health and safety excellence and economic success
127· Providing a link between scientists, officials from all levels of government, economists, statisticians, environmentalists, ecologists, renewable and non-renewable resources specialists, business leaders, non-governmental organizations, educators, health and social experts, Aboriginals and Natives, home and community planners, and the public to explore local and global sustainable development issues under the theme

Global Community Action 1 :

· Insuring a Sound Future for Earth
· Measuring and Managing Sustainable Development

128· Serving the scientific community as a forum for the presentation and discussion of important issues related to sustainable development
129· Generating a Global Community dialogue about and for peace and sound solutions to that effect
130· Providing a Global Online Community for the general public and the opportunity for involvement and feedback into projects and programs
131· Providing the Global Community with sound solutions related to home and community sustainable development, environmental designs and sustainable buildings
132· Committed to the sustainable end of world hunger by finding sound solutions to development
133· Promoting the global adoption of energy-efficiency in order to enable a sustainable economic development and an ecological sustainable development
134· Performing Global review of projects, examine alternatives, and formulates guidelines and criteria for future local and global development
135· Establishing a permanent global dialogue on measuring and managing sustainable development
136· Establishing a permanent global dialogue on finding sound solutions to sustainable development
137· Establishing a permanent global dialogue to ensure a sound future for Earth
138· Mechanisms for citizen participation to finding sound solutions
139· Coordinating the assessment of local and global indicators along with other national and international organizations
140· Establishing accounting and valuation on sustainable development; making results available to governments, research institutions, NGOs from all countries
141. Establishing the Global Community network that will conduct annual assessments of sustainable development indicators and making results available on the Internet
142· Providing gross global indicators to the global community:

1. Gross Environmental Sustainable Development Index (GESDI); and

2. Gross Sustainable Development Product (GSDP).

142· Developing projects and programs to promote the Global Community concept in school and for the general Public
143· Establishing a warning system on environmental hazards and emergencies to prevent disasters from happening
144· Helping countries to prevent and peacefully settle environmental disputes by initiating a process for dialogue and finding solutions
145· Proposing a local and global Code of criminal law governing transnational offenses
146. Proposing minimum standards of punishment for transboundary criminal behavior
147· Proposing joint legal instruments and policies to facilitate management of transboundary natural resources and border ecosystems, and to regulate the use of renewable natural resources
148· Proposing integrated accounts systems, business and industry accounts, economic policies, policy instruments, and private actions
149· Proposing policies and management practices to national and international organizations for the integration of environment and development at various stages of the decision-making process
150· Proposing joint projects between countries for resource management and control
151· Proposing to international institutions (World Bank, IMF, etc.) measurements of sustainable development be included in their statistics on socioeconomic, trade and financial performance
152· Proposing regulatory instruments on sustainable development
153. Lifestyles
154. Habits
155. Political influences

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Environment aspects

1. Arctic
2. The role of the Environment as a source of natural capital
3. Biological Diversity
4. Protected natural Areas
5. Ecological Protection
6. Endangered Species
7. Protection of Wild Fauna
8. Protection of Wild Flora
9. Migratory wild species
10. Marines mammals and birds
11. Legal mechanisms to ensure coverage of damage to renewable natural resources
12. Heritage Sites
13. Regulations related to the transport, use, and disposal of hazardous wastes/dangerous goods
14. Toxic Product and Waste
15. Hazardous Materials
16. Solid Wastes
17. Radioactive Wastes
18. Pesticides
19. Industrial Pollution
20. The Pacific Salmon
21. Oceans
22. Coastal Areas
23. Mountains
24. Desertification
25. Drought
26. Land
27. Wetlands
28. Soils
29. Wildlife
30. Physical values
31. Forestry
32. Water Pollution
33. Marine Issues
34. Air Issues
35. Air Pollution
36. Protected Areas
37. Atmosphere
38. Global Warming
39. Ozone Layer
40. Ozone Depleting Substances
41. Climate Change:
i) The Global Climate Observing System
ii) International Council of Scientific Unions
iii) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
iv) World Meteorological Organization
v) United Nations Environment Programme
vi) Earthwatch
vii) Agenda 21
42. Measurement of Indicators
43. Monitoring
44. Making results of measurements available on the Internet
45. Ecosystems
46. Acid rain damage
47. Water quality
48. Recreational areas
49. Soil productivity
50. Watersheds
51. Forest soil erosion
52. Vegetation
53. Soil carrying capacity
54. Old-growth trees
55. Air quality
56. Fresh water
57. Ozone depletion substances

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Economic development aspects

1. Manufacturing
2. Power
3. Labour Force
4. Sustainable economic development requires healthy families, able workers and informed, responsible citizens
5. Markets
6. Competitiveness of the economies in the world and ensuring a sound sustainable development
7. Economic value of natural resources and ecosystems
8. Impact of the depletion and degradation of natural resources and ecosystems on human welfare
9. Deforestation
10. International Institutions
11. Integration of environmental and economic institutions
12. Economic cost of resource and environment degradation (in terms of production and health)
13. Industry
14. Business
15. Construction
16. Rural Development
17. Urban Development
18. Stock Markets
19. Exports
20. Imports
21. Growth
22. Goods and Services
23. Incorporation of production-related environmental costs in the price of goods traded in national and international markets
24. Demand
25. International Cooperation
26. Make economic accounting relevant to sustainable development objectives
27. Trade
28. Investment
i) Regulation
ii) Risk
29. Credit
30. Aid
31. Distribution of Income
32. Consumption
33. Expenditures
34. Transport
35. Communications
36. Prices
37. Exchange Rates
38. World Bank
39. IMF
40. Banks
41. Government
i) Finances
ii) Revenues
iii) Expenditures
iv) Debt and Deficit
v) Defense Expenditures
vi) Budget
vii) Taxes
42. Balance of Payments
43. Information Age
44. Science and Technology
45. Training
46. Regional Trade Blocs
47. Tariff Barriers
48. OECD Trade
49. Travel
50. Tourism
51. Measurement of Indicators
i) Economic: growth, production, demand
ii) Macroeconomic
iii) National Account: GDP per Capita
iv) Gross Sustainable Development Product (GSDP)
52. Profitability
53. Insurance premiums
55. Competitiveness
56. Property value
57. Tax system
58. Building materials
59. Building and community design and codes
60. Employment
61. Training programs
62. R & D
63. Transportation
64. Urban development
65. G-7
66. GATT
67. World monetary institutions
68. Sock Exchange
69. Monitoring
70. Making results of measurements available on the Internet
71. Economic well-being
72. Globalization
73. Rural development
74. Global development

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Availability of resources aspects

1. Sources of Electricity Generation
2. Agriculture
3. Forests, wood products
4. Mineral, raw materials
5. Food products, livestock, meat products, dairy products
6. Fisheries
7. Mining
8. Water: freshwater
9. Fishing
10. Energy
i) Production
ii) Development
iii) Use
iv) Sources
v) Energy Efficiency
vi) Renewable Energy
vii) Energy Conservation
viii) Energy Trade and Markets
ix) Clean Energy Technologies
x) Nuclear Power
xi) Fossil Fuels: Oil and Natural Gas
xii) Hydroelectric Power
11. Secondary sources of wealth:

a. Assets b. Buildings c. Equipment d. Properties e. Tourism f. Land use g. Entertainment h. Arts i. Sports j. Recreational (indoor and outdoor) k. Auto and plane l. Pharmaceutical products m. High tech products n. Gambling o. Lotteries p. Communications products

12. Decline in the creation of real wealth
13. Measurement of Indicators
14. Monitoring
15. Making results of measurements available on the Internet
16. Per capita export of timber volume of forest products
17. Per capita consumption of timber and forest products
18. Old-growth trees
19. Wilderness and protected areas
20. Recreational sites
21. Vegetation

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Scoring method for performance

The scoring method for performance is a simple method designed to assess performance in the area of sustainable development. There is a point awarded to each response to a question. The answer to each question produces a score. The scale of the scoring system is shown here.
 Answer  Score
 Absolutely not
 Not often
 Most of the times
 Definitely yes

If a question is not applying to the site, it must be left out and the total number of questions is reduced by one. All points are then added to obtain a percentage in each sub-section therefore assessing performance in all areas. The rating for each sub-section is calculated using the following equation:

Sub-section %    =    Total number of points for the subsection     x     100%
                           Total number of questions for the sub-section               5

The sub-section rating obtained is entered at the end of each sub-section. By adding the percentage together and dividing by the number of sub-sections will yield the "Section Rating", which is the average percentage performance in this area of sustainable development.

We have assigned weights to each Section Rating value as part of the accounting method. These weights were obtained from the Survey on the Scale of Values and are of the same kind as the Urgency or Importance Index value. We guess-estimated in between the values from the Survey.

Thus the section rating can be obtained.
Section Rating     =      Sub-section rating total     x      I(normanized)
                                Total number of sub-sections

= GESDI for this section.

All percentages were then added to obtain an overall rating for the site.
The GESDI for the home and the community is obtained by adding all GESDI of all the sections together.

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The Scale of Values obtained from the survey, guess-estimated and standard

The total number of components of the four major quality systems are added here:

People or Social (155)        +        Environment (57)       +       

Availability of Resources (21)        +       Economic Development (74)       

      =        307

Although some impacts maybe assessed using similar components within the four major quality systems unless it can be shown otherwise, impacts should be counted only once. For instance, within the environment system, component 32 is "water pollution". If the pollution is found in the Arctic (component 1), then water pollution may be used only once using either component 1 or component 32.

As an example, the upper benchmark is easily obtained by considering the impacts of a global nuclear war: U = 10, G = 10, P = 10, C = 57 + 155 + 21 + 74 = 307 (W = 1), and I = UGPC = 307,000. Thus the overall importance of the impact of a global nuclear war is equal to 307,000. All values of I are normalized by dividing by 307,000 (the upper benchmark is now equal to 1 ).

At the other end of the scale we might have to measure the importance of the impact of community noise on the four major quality system. Noise pollution has already well-established standard values and we would use them to reinforce values obtained from the survey or guess-estimated values. Noise pollution in a residential community is much more important than noise pollution out in the desert somewhere where it does not affect people. In this case we have to evaluate GESDI in its context or site. We will show how it can be done in the next part of this report where we evaluate GESDI for a home and a community.

Noise pollution in a community could have the following assessment categories:

U    =    9,     G    =     1,     P     =    1

(WC)i,E     =     0.9     as air is being polluted with noise and it is the only interaction in this system and W = 0.9

(WC)i,PA    =    0.9(social)     +     1.0(health)     +    0.5 (biological)    +     1.0(political)    +     1.0(quality of life)     +     0.2(cultural)     =     4.6

(WC)i,AR     =     0

(WC)i,ED     =     0.7(home environmental design)    +     0.5(building materials)    +     0.7(property value)    =     1.9

The Number of Interactions of the impact is:

(WC)i     =     0.9    +    4.6    +     0     +     1.9    =    7.4

The overall importance of the impact is:

I     =     UGP(WC)i     =     9 x 1 x 1 x 7.4    =     66.6

The value of 66.6 is the impact of noise pollution at this particular site. GESDI cannot be evaluated at this time. We have to evaluate the entire community or site and again this will be shown in the next chapter of this report. Note that noise pollution standards were very useful here and, sometimes, there maybe a need for a standard measurement of the noise and comparing results with government regulations. Results would certainly improve the assessment we are conducting. Unless it can be shown that already recognized standards are deficient, they are always used first and given priority over guess-estimates.

A priority list has been worked out for the province of Alberta in Canada. The list is used to define the quality scale whose values are in turn used as weights to measure GESDI. The measurement includes all environmental, social, resources and economic development stresses and/or impacts, all made to interact with the four major quality systems and within themselves. The method is flexible enough to measure all types of indicators and indices.

The following table is an example of the work already accomplished. The table shows the assessment category U, the Urgency or importance of the impact and its weight W = U/10 used to obtain the interaction (WC). The column Usurvey will eventually contain the value of U obtained from the results of the Survey on the Scale of Values. The column Uestimated
is the guess estimated value for those who understand and are aware of impacts and their cumulative effects over time. People in the community will want to get together and discuss and find the best solution. Every responsible individual has a right to be part of the discussion and the solution. A personal judgement is made as to what the answer may be between 1 and 10. If noone in the community can answer the question than an environmental assessment would be appropriate in this case. Sometimes a rough estimate from someone with experience in the field is all that is needed.

Government regulations have very important standards which must be used first. Very often a city would have even more stringent standards and they would be given priorities.
 Usurvey Uestimated Ustandard U/10 
Nuclear war(upper benchmark)
Solid waste
Carbon dioxide
Ozone layer pollutants
Wastes from industry
Oil spills
Sulphur dioxide
Radioactive wastes
Carbon monoxide
Community noise
Heavy metals
Organic sewage
Wasteful use of energy

The following priority list has been worked out for common use. Values were obtained for each interaction and, after studying the large volume of data available on every aspect, it was possible to resolve the impact equation for each case. The following table shows the results.

Note that these results are specific to Alberta. Results would be different at any other site.

  U       G       P            Sum of WC        
Nuclear war  10  10  10 
Solid waste  10  10 
Carbon dioxide  10  10 
Ozone layer pollutants  10  10  10 
Wastes from industry 
Oil spills 
Sulphur dioxide 
Radioactive waste  10  10 
Carbon monoxide 
Community noise 
Heavy metals  10 
Organic sewage 
Wasteful use of energy  10 

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Impact equation example: Forestry

Sustainable Forestry Development

The natural stock of forest yields the end-use or consumption of cut timber. A sustained yield of timber must be reached to satisfy the principles of sustainable development. To maintain the productive capacity of the stock and sustain the income or benefits, people are asked to replenish the stock once used. Consumption levels of the stock must be maintained without depleting the quality and quantity of services the stock brings in creating wealth. Sufficient investments must be made to replenish timber stocks. For instance, an investment in reforestation is necessary.

A forest has both:

1) A market value for the resource of timber harvested for forest products; and
2) Nonmarket values for resources such as: wilderness and protected areas, water quality, vegetation, recreational areas, ecosystem biodiversity, forest soils, peat, watersheds, old-growth trees, air quality, aesthetic, forest soil productivity and carrying capacity, and spiritual values.

Timber resources have monetary values which are derived from the conversion of timber into marketable forest products. The economic value and monetary account of the forest as a resource is determined as follows:

(opening and net closing balance of the physical stock measurement of timber)     x     ((average price      -     costs     +      business profit and risk) for all forest products and production per cubic meter of timber, or per unit of forest land area)

This way the net balance of timber or the value of the net effect of both growth and depletion is accounted for, and is used in the Gross Sustainable Development Product (GSDP) accounts either as a depreciated or appreciated value.

Depletion or depreciation might be due to fire, harvesting, insect and disease damage, and land use changes. Appreciation might be due to reforestation, land use changes, growth, and productive gains.

The physical stock, end-use and consumption accounts show the net balance of timber volumes and productive forest land area. The end-use and consumption accounts show both

       appreciation      depreciation or depletion

Ir oder to evaluate a Sustainable Forestry Development, the market value for the resource of timber must be evaluated as well as the impact on nonmarket values of the other forest resources. All forest quality indicators mus be taken into account:

*ecosystem biodiversity     * peat    * acid rain damage    * water quality    * recreational areas    * per capita consumption of timber and forest products    * per capita export of timber volume of forest products    * soil productivity    * watersheds    * forest soil erosion    * vegetation    * aesthetic    * soil carrying capacity    * old-growth trees    * wilderness and protected areas    * air quality    * spiritual values

What is the impact of a stress such as a forest fire on the four major quality systems?

Setting:    Alberta in Canada

U    =    10 the problem must be resolved now
G   =   2 the extent of the fire is the size of an average city
P   =   9 the fire may last only a few days but the effects will persist for decades

(WC)i,E     =     0.2 (global warming)     +     0.1 (soil quality)     +     0.4 (air quality)    +     1.0 (costs of extinguishing the fire and repairing damage done by fire is estimated at $20 million)     +     0.4 (water quality damage to lake at the site)     +    0.9 (vegetation)    +   0.6 (wilderness)     +     1.0 (ecosystem destroyed)     +    1.0 (old-growth trees)   =     5.6

(WC)i,AR     =     0.2 (diminishing the stock of forest has cost $15 million)    +    1.0 (a recreational area was destroyed at a cost of $1 million)    +    0.6 (residential and commercial properties were destroyed at a cost of $15 million)     +     1.0 (tourism industry is affected at a cost of $2 million)     =     2.8

(WC)i,PA    =    0.5 (aesthetic    +    0.4 (psychological effect on people)     +    0.8 (quality of life is diminished)    +     0.5 (health costs were $3 million)     =    2.2

(WC)i,ED     =     1.0 (profitability is affected at a cost of $4 million)    +     0.5 (property value is diminished at a cost of $2 million)     +    0.1 (GSDP is diminished by $20 + 15 + 1 + 15 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 2    =     $62 million)     =    1.6

I    =    UGP(WC)i     =    10 x 2 x 9 x (5.6 + 2.8 + 2.2 + 1.6)    =     2196

or    I     =    2196/307000     =     0.000715

The results show that the forest fire has a significant impact on sustainable development, and therefore on GESDI in the province of Alberta, especially in the community where it has occurred. The GSDP calculated has decreased by $62 million.

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The GSDP expression

Global Indicator
Gross Sustainable Development Product (GSDP)

An other indicator was developed to measure the costs of development: the Gross Sustainable Development Product (GSDP).

The GSDP is defined as the total value of production within a region over a specified period of time. It is measured using market prices for goods and services transactions in the economy. The GSDP is designed to replace the Gross Development Product (GDP) as the primary indicator of the economic performance of a nation.

The GSDP takes into accounts:

· the economic impacts of environmental and health degradation or improvement, resource depletion or findings of new stocks, and depreciation or appreciation of stocks;
· the impact of people activity on the environment, the availability of resources, and economic development;
· the "quality" of the four major quality systems and the impacts of changes in these systems on national income and wealth;
· global concerns and their impacts on the economy;
· the welfare, economic development and quality of life of future generations;
· expenditures on pollution abatement and clean-ups, people health, floods, vehicle accidents, and on any negative impact costs;
· the status of each resource and the stocks and productive capacities of exploited populations and ecosystems, and make sure that those capacities are sustained and replenished after use; and
· the depreciation or appreciation of natural assets, the depletion and degradation of natural resources and the environment, ecological processes and biological diversity, the costs of rectifying unmitigated environmental damage, the values of natural resources, capital stocks, the impacts of degradation or improvement, social costs, health costs, environmental clean-up costs, and the costs of the environment, economic growth, and resources uses to current and future generations and to a nation’s income.

The measurement of GSDP shows that consumption levels can be maintained without depleting and depreciating the quality and quantity of services. It indicates the solutions to the problems as well as the directions to take, such as:

· invest in technology, R & D, to increase the end-use efficiency;
· increase productivity;
· modify social, educational programs and services;
· slow down or increase economic growth;
· remediate components of the four major quality systems; and
· rectify present shortcomings of income and wealth accounts.

The measurement of GSDP also gives a proper and sound signal to the public, government and industry about the rate and direction of economic growth; it identifies environmental, health, and social quality; it identifies sustainable and unsustainable levels of resource and environmental uses; it measures the success or failure of sustainable development policies and practices; and it identifies resource scarcity. Values obtained enable us to make meaningful comparisons of sustainable development between cities, provinces, nations over the entire planet.

A status report of all physical accounts show the physical state and availability of resources and the state of the environment. Examples of the physical stock accounts are:

• minerals • oil, gas and coal • forests
• wildlife • agricultural • soils • fish
• protected wilderness areas • flow rate of water

Valuation in terms of money accounts is difficult for some non-market values such as:

* aesthetic satisfaction * air quality * water quality
* soil carrying capacity and productivity * acid rain deposition
* biodiversity * wilderness and protected areas * land productivity

GESDI can be obtained for these quality indicators that are difficult to give a money value to. Both the GESDI and GSDP are measured together and tell us about the quality and cost of development, locally and globally.

Measurements of GESDI and GSDP provide insights for the discussion of issues such as :

· Is the actual rate of development too slow or too fast?
· Are People aspects being stressed too far?
· Are resources and the environment managed in a sustainable manner?
· What forms of community and home designs promote sustainability?
· In what ways should social, educational, and health programs and services be modified?
· Is this generation leaving to the future generation a world that is at least as diverse and productive as the one it inherited?
· What improvements can be brought up to the quality of development?




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