Characteristics of Effective Sustainability Indicators
Basically, on a broader sense and in the simplest explanation, an indicator is something that will help you understand where you are at present, the direction in which you are going, and how far you are from attaining your goal of where you want to be. A good indicator is one that will identify the problems that have arisen and help you identify ways of fixing the problem before it gets out of hand. Sustainability indicators therefore will help point to key areas where the connection between the environment, the economy, and the society is weak. In other words, they will allow you to identify the problem areas and help show you how you can fix the problems.
There is a very big difference between the traditional indicators of the progress of the society, economy, and the environment and sustainability indicators. Traditional indicators will always measure the changes that a certain part of a community goes through as if that part wholly depends on the other parts of the community. Indicators of sustainability will however show the reality that all the three different parts are linked tightly.
It is the sustainable measures, that work with companies, communities, government agencies, and regional organizations, that help develop the rate of progress towards a sustainable environment, economy, and society at large. It is therefore right to say that sustainability indicators give a sitemap for public sustainability policy because an effective set of indicators of sustainability will underscore critical social, environmental, and economic problems that need fixing, as well as give a viable way of measuring the efficacy of the programs that are designed to assuage these problems.
Be advised that the choice of sustainability reflectors will reflect how a population succinctly defines progress. However, every community should create a sustainable environment by measuring progress not in terms of how rapid the economy is growing, the quantity of goods the community is consuming, or the amount of financial wealth being amassed in the community, but it should be measured, under a sound sustainability policy on how the community:-
- Diversifies and stabilizes the economic base
- Distribute wealth, access to cultural amenities, and income equitably
- Protect and seek to restore local ecosystems
- Advance the economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
Characteristics of effective indicators
Note that sustainability indicators are very varied, actually as varied as the different types of systems they measure and keep monitoring in the pursuit of a sustainable environment. Nonetheless, there are certain key characteristics that all efficient sustainability indicators have in common
- Any good and efficient sustainability indicator should be relevant, showing you whatever you want to know about a particular system
- It should equally be reliable for someone to trust the data and information provided by the indicator
- They should be easy to understand even to the common citizen
- Last but certainly not least, an effective sustainability indicator should be based on easy-to-get data whereby the information should be available or can be collected when there will still be enough time to take necessary action.
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