Sustainability indicator development-Science or political negotiation?
Forskningsoutput: Tidskriftsbidrag › Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
The efforts to develop sustainability indicators have strongly increased since the beginning of the 1990s, often led by intergovernmental processes. More recently, a number of sustainability indicator development processes have been initiated within large research projects that aim to design tools for sustainability assessments, funded by the European Union. The development of sustainability indicators provides a particular challenge to scientists, given the essentially normative dimension of the concept: of "sustainability". Thus, we argue, the development of sustainability indicators is a process of both scientific "knowledge production" and of political "norm creation", and both components need to be properly acknowledged. Based on a respective theoretical framework and comparing five cases of sustainability indicator development processes (three science-led and two led by intergovernmental processes), we find that the political norm creation dimension is not fully and explicitly recognized in science-led processes. The paper concludes by discussing a number of implications for the design of sustainability indicator development processes, in particular with regard to participation and representation as well as adjustment of indicators over time. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.