IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Sustainability indicators: the problem of integration

Listed author(s):
  • Stephen Morse

    (Department of Geography, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

  • Nora McNamara

    (Diocesan Development Services, POB 114, Idah, Kogi State, Nigeria)

  • Moses Acholo

    (Diocesan Development Services, POB 114, Idah, Kogi State, Nigeria)

  • Benjamin Okwoli

    (Diocesan Development Services, POB 114, Idah, Kogi State, Nigeria)

Registered author(s):

    Sustainability indicators (SIs) are increasingly seen as important tools in the implementation of sustainable development. Numerous suggested SI lists and matrices exist, but a remaining problem is how these diverse SIs are to be integrated into an answer as to whether something is sustainable or not. In some studies of sustainability workers have adopted a quantitative integration approach whereby SIs are given numerical values and integrated mathematically to produce a value for sustainability. In this paper the authors discuss SI integration by drawing upon the results of a six-year research project based in a village in Nigeria. They conclude that an element of'qualitative integration' incorporating value judgements and subjectivity is inevitable with a concept such as sustainability, even if one begins with what may seem like sharp and quantitative SIs. It is argued that SIs are primarily a product of development intervention rather than a desire to understand, and as a result carry with them the desired characteristics, from the donor perspective, of efficiency and accountability. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

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

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Sustainable Development.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 1-15

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:9:y:2001:i:1:p:1-15
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.148
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Hansen, J. W., 1996. "Is agricultural sustainability a useful concept?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 117-143.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:9:y:2001:i:1:p:1-15. 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)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.