IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Assessing farm sustainability with the IDEA method - from the concept of agriculture sustainability to case studies on farms


  • Frédéric Zahm

    (Cemagref, UR ADBXF-33612, Cestas Cedex, France)

  • Philippe Viaux

    (Arvalis, Boigneville, France)

  • Lionel Vilain

    (France Nature Environnement, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturel, Paris Cedex, France)

  • Philippe Girardin

    (INRA, UMR Agronomie-Environnement, Colmar Cedex, France)

  • Christian Mouchet

    (ENSAR, Laboratoire de Développement Rural, Rennes Cedex, France)


The IDEA method ( Indicateurs de Durabilité des Exploitations Agricoles or Farm Sustainability Indicators) is based on research work conducted since 1998 and is one way of giving practical expression to the concept of sustainable farms. Based on 41 sustainability indicators covering the three dimensions of sustainability, this method is designed as a self-assessment tool not only for farmers but also for policy makers to support sustainable agriculture. The scientific approach is based on identifying three different scales of sustainability. The application of the IDEA method is illustrated using French case studies. Linking the IDEA method with the Farm Accounting Data Network is noted as an interesting possibility to assess the sustainability level of different farming systems. The conclusion is that there is not just one farm sustainability model, and therefore the indicators must be adapted to local farming before using the IDEA method. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Frédéric Zahm & Philippe Viaux & Lionel Vilain & Philippe Girardin & Christian Mouchet, 2008. "Assessing farm sustainability with the IDEA method - from the concept of agriculture sustainability to case studies on farms," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(4), pages 271-281.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:16:y:2008:i:4:p:271-281
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.380

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hansen, J. W., 1996. "Is agricultural sustainability a useful concept?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 117-143.
    2. Bockstaller, C. & Girardin, P., 2003. "How to validate environmental indicators," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 639-653, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. de Olde, Evelien M. & Bokkers, Eddie A.M. & de Boer, Imke J.M., 2017. "The Choice of the Sustainability Assessment Tool Matters: Differences in Thematic Scope and Assessment Results," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 77-85.
    2. repec:eee:agisys:v:159:y:2018:i:c:p:111-125 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:16:y:2008:i:4:p:271-281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.