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Not measuring sustainable value at all: A response to Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen


  • Figge, Frank
  • Hahn, Tobias


In their article in this issue of Ecological Economics, Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen [Kuosmanen, T. and Kuosmanen, N., this issue. How Not to Measure Sustainable Value (and How One Might). Ecological Economics.] aim to criticise the measurement of Sustainable Value as proposed in our previous research. By adopting a production perspective and based on a productive efficiency analysis, they claim that the proposed way of measuring Sustainable Value represents an invalid simplification that rests on restrictive and unrealistic assumptions. Our response is to show that their argument rests on a fundamental misspecification of the Sustainable Value approach. We identify three conceptual misfits: a mismatch in the perspective of the analysis, a misspecification of opportunity costs and the irrelevance of production functions. Ultimately, Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen's train of thought rests entirely within the realm of productive efficiency analysis, whereas Sustainable Value builds on the foundations of financial economics and consequently adopts a macro rather than a firm perspective. It is thus not surprising that the findings of Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen appear to contradict the Sustainable Value approach. However, this is due to their fundamental misspecification of the Sustainable Value approach. As a result, rather than providing novel insights into how Sustainable Value might be measured in a better way, they do not measure Sustainable Value at all.

Suggested Citation

  • Figge, Frank & Hahn, Tobias, 2009. "Not measuring sustainable value at all: A response to Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 244-249, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2009:i:2:p:244-249

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    Cited by:

    1. Azad, Md A.S. & Ancev, Tihomir, 2010. "Using ecological indices to measure economic and environmental performance of irrigated agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1731-1739, June.
    2. Merante, Paolo & Van Passel, Steven & Pacini, Cesare, 2015. "Using agro-environmental models to design a sustainable benchmark for the sustainable value method," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 1-13.
    3. Paolo Cupo & Rinalda Alberta Di Cerbo, 2016. "The determinants of ranking in sustainable efficiency of Italian farms," RIVISTA DI STUDI SULLA SOSTENIBILITA', FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(2), pages 141-159.
    4. Figge, Frank & Hahn, Tobias & Barkemeyer, Ralf, 2014. "The If, How and Where of assessing sustainable resource use," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 274-283.
    5. Pacini, G. Cesare & Merante, Paolo & Lazzerini, Giulio & Van Passel, Steven, 2015. "Increasing the cost-effectiveness of EU agri-environment policy measures through evaluation of farm and field-level environmental and economic performance," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 70-78.
    6. Francesco Vidoli & Giancarlo Ferrara, 2015. "Analyzing Italian citrus sector by semi-nonparametric frontier efficiency models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 641-658, September.
    7. Ang, Frederic & Van Passel, Steven & Mathijs, Erik, 2011. "An aggregate resource efficiency perspective on sustainability: A Sustainable Value application to the EU-15 countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 99-110.


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