WIT Press

Sustainability In Practice: Integrated Assessment To Support Policy And Decision-making Processes


Free (open access)





Page Range

393 - 404




308 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Calleros-Islas, C. Welsh-Rodriguez


Sustainability has been recognized, when facing multifaceted decision and policy making processes, as a discipline that broadens the scope under which issues are taken into account. This is considered important given the complex and interrelated challenges faced by societies nowadays. However, it has been found in literature that the sustainable approach still has several obstacles to tackle, from the weakening of its discourse to the lack of real influence and low consensus on its meaning and practice. To reinforce the operational side of sustainability, several methodologies have been designed and implemented over the years with two main shortcomings: an inability to assess sustainability issues as a whole and more specifically, a lack of practical steps that can be included on a day-to-day basis. Integrated assessment emerges as a possible way to summarize the complexity of studying issues from a broader perspective but it is applied in different ways with diverse outcomes that require careful examination. These outcomes are compared by analyzing four integrated assessment tools: life cycle assessment, cost-benefit analysis, stakeholder analysis and multiple scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism. The aim is to observe and determine the degree to which they contribute to the consolidation of the sustainable approach and how they support decision-making processes. It is intended that this exercise help build a diverse yet deep common base for further conversation that will facilitate the process of searching and selecting alternatives to drive socio-ecological systems towards a more sustainable future.


sustainable approach, consolidation of sustainability, integrated assessment, policy making, decision-making