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How environmentally focused is the German sustainability strategy? A critical discussion of the indicators used to measure sustainable development in Germany




There are hardly any critical discussions of sustainable development indicator sets designed for use at the national level. This article aims at rectifying this omission in critical academic research by contributing to the discourse on environmental sustainability with an assessment of the indicator set used for the measurement of sustainable development in Germany. It will evaluate to what extent the sustainable development concept is reflected in the structure of the strategy and analyse in how far fundamental environmental issues are covered by the indicator set. The discussion will show that the environmental dimension of the sustainability concept is not sufficiently integrated in the German National Sustainable Development Strategy. Although the strategy’s indicator set contains a range of environmental indicators, gaps in the German indicator set become apparent when contrasted with important issues of sustainability. It will be concluded that the environmental dimension of the sustainable development concept is not the recurrent theme in either the strategy or the indicator set. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Falko Leukhardt & Simon Allen, 2013. "How environmentally focused is the German sustainability strategy? A critical discussion of the indicators used to measure sustainable development in Germany," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 149-166, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:endesu:v:15:y:2013:i:1:p:149-166
    DOI: 10.1007/s10668-012-9380-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bohringer, Christoph & Jochem, Patrick E.P., 2007. "Measuring the immeasurable -- A survey of sustainability indices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-8, June.
    2. Hinterberger, Friedrich & Luks, Fred & Schmidt-Bleek, Friedrich, 1997. "Material flows vs. 'natural capital': What makes an economy sustainable?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-14, October.
    3. Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
    4. Nuno Quental & Júlia M. Lourenço & Fernando Nunes da Silva, 2011. "Sustainable development policy: goals, targets and political cycles," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 15-29, January/F.
    5. Bob Giddings & Bill Hopwood & Geoff O'Brien, 2002. "Environment, economy and society: fitting them together into sustainable development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 187-196.
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    1. repec:spr:endesu:v:19:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10668-016-9764-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:11:p:1989-:d:117061 is not listed on IDEAS


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