Environmental sustainability and cost - benefit analysis
Efforts to 'operationalize' a concept of sustainability into appraisal methods for practical decisionmaking have been few and generally unpersuasive. In this paper it is argued that this need not be the ease if a set of environmentally compensating, or `shadow' projects within an overall portfolio are used to ensure a sustainability objective of setting a constraint on the depletion and degradation of the stock of natural capital. This can be achieved through both a `weak' and a `strong' sustainability criterion. In both cases the resulting optimum differs from the efficient optimum of the conventional cost - benefit criterion, but the basic cost - benefit model remains intact.
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