Keywords: sustainable development, risk assessment, opportunities, capital asset management, sustainability progress, economic capital, natural capital, human capital, environmental capital, risks
Sustainable development footprint: a framework for assessing sustainable development risks and opportunities in time and space
This paper elaborates a framework, the sustainable development footprint, that can be used to assess progress in sustainable development in space and time. The framework views sustainability as consisting of the entire stock of its capital (natural and derived) and the rate of use of this stock to develop human (or other types) capital relative to the rates of regeneration of its capital stocks. The framework discusses three key forms of capital: economic, natural and human. The paper uses the framework to analyse variation in sustainable development status among 35 countries. The results show that sustainable development status, in particular its opportunities and risks, varies in relation to dynamics in economic, environmental and human capital. This framework provides a tool that nations, cities and other administrative units can use to evaluate their sustainability progress from time to time, in order to direct their resources and development in a manner that is supportive of the goals of sustainable development. The framework and illustration are potentially useful to decision makers and researchers making efforts to maximise the opportunities and minimise the risks as they advance sustainable development in international, national and local contexts.