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[en] To address current challenges regarding sustainable development and support planning for this form of development, new learning about different possible futures and their potential sustainability implications is needed. One way of facilitating this learning is by combining the futures studies and sustainability assessment (SA) research fields. This paper presents the sustainability assessment framework for scenarios (SAFS), a method developed for assessing the environmental and social risks and opportunities of future scenarios, provides guidelines for its application and demonstrates how the framework can be applied. SAFS suggests assessing environmental and social aspects using a consumption perspective and a life cycle approach, and provides qualitative results. SAFS does not suggest any modelling using precise data, but instead offers guidelines on how to carry out a qualitative assessment, where both the process of assessing and the outcome of the assessment are valuable and can be used as a basis for discussion. The benefits, drawbacks and potential challenges of applying SAFS are also discussed in the paper. SAFS uses systems thinking looking at future societies as a whole, considering both environmental and social consequences. This encourages researchers and decision-makers to consider the whole picture, and not just individual elements, when considering different futures. - Highlights: • The paper presents a new methodological framework for qualitative sustainability assessment of future scenarios with transformative changes. • The framework suggests qualitative assessment with consumption perspective and a life cycle approach. • The paper presents the framework and provides guidelines for its application. • The paper demonstrates on an example how the framework can be applied. • The benefits, drawbacks and challenges of the framework application and the need for further development are discussed.
[en] Certification systems for sustainable neighbourhoods started to emerge around a decade ago. This study analysed the content, structure, weighting and indicators of two established certification systems for sustainable urban development – BREEAM Communities and LEED for Neighborhood Development. Several limitations of these systems were identified: both have a bias for procedure and feature indicators over indicators that assess actual performance; performance demands are set according to a relative understanding of sustainable development; the focus is on internal sustainability, while upstream and downstream impacts of construction are disregarded; the number and distribution of mandatory issues do not cover essential sustainability aspects; and the disproportionately large number of non-mandatory issues makes benchmarking difficult and signals that sustainability aspects are exchangeable. Altogether, this means that an area can be certified without being sustainable. Moreover, the lack of continuous development of certification requirements in the systems means that they risk exerting a conservative effect on urban development, rather than pushing it forward. - Highlights: • BREEAM-C and LEED-ND were analysed in terms of content and structure. • Specific attention was given to the type of indicators used for showing compliance. • In both systems procedure and feature indicators dominate over performance indicators. • Several other limitations of these certification systems were also identified. • Altogether the limitations imply that a certificate does not warrant sustainability.
[en] Nowadays an increasing attention of public and private agencies to the sustainability performance of events is observed, since it is recognized as a key issue in the context of sustainable development. Assessing the sustainability performance of events involves environmental, social and economic aspects; their impacts are complex and a quantitative assessment is often difficult. This paper presents a new quali-quantitative method developed to measure the sustainability of events, taking into account all its potential impacts. The 2014 World Orienteering Championship, held in Italy, was selected to test the proposed evaluation methodology. The total carbon footprint of the event was 165.34 tCO_2eq and the avoided emissions were estimated as being 46 tCO_2eq. The adopted quali-quantitative method resulted to be efficient in assessing the sustainability impacts and can be applied for the evaluation of similar events. - Highlights: • A quali-quantitative method to assess events' sustainability is presented. • All the methodological issues related to the method are explained. • The method is used to evaluate the sustainability of an international sports event. • The method resulted to be valid to assess the event's sustainability level. • The carbon footprint of the event has been calculated.
[en] Rural electrification is considered to be a key strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. It should therefore include (1) expanding electricity access and (2) enable new consumers to increase their electricity consumption. In this paper we ask how Brazil’s recent rural electrification efforts have managed to reach these objectives. A new method to measure energy and income equity is presented which uses estimations of non-parametric density curves for the analysis of energy and income distributional trends following electrification. By applying our method to a panel data set from two Brazilian states situated in the country’s poor northeast region we find that (1) rural consumers take up electricity consumption after electrification, and that (2) low consumption levels give way to higher electricity consumption levels after only a few years. This indicates immediate social benefits for households through consumption of electricity services. However, our analysis cannot verify a direct link between electricity use and rural income generation in the short term. The results emphasize the need for government and other actors to integrate rural electrification into broader rural development strategies in order to enable long-term welfare increases through electricity use. - Highlights: ► Comprehensive analysis of Brazil’s recent rural electrification efforts. ► New methodology to analyze energy and income equity trends ex post electrification. ► Analysis indicates immediate social benefits for electrified households. ► We cannot establish a direct link between electricity use and income in the short-run. ► Electrification thus should be integrated in long-term rural development strategies.