The multiple roles of sustainability indicators in informational governance: between intended use and unanticipated influence

Abstract : Indicators of sustainable development (SDIs), societal progress and wellbeing are perceived as informational tools vital for sustainability governance. The literature has thus far overwhelmingly concentrated on improving the technical quality of the indicators, while the role of these indicators in policy processes remains under-researched. Drawing on literature concerning policy evaluation and assessments — as well as the emerging literature on the interplay between indicators and policy — this article identifies a number of issues central for the role of SDIs in governance processes. It draws attention to the multiple indirect pathways through which these indicators exert their influence, highlighting the conceptual and political roles of SDIs. The conclusions outline a number of trade-offs and ambiguities inherent in the use and development of indicators.
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Markku Lehtonen, Léa Sébastien, Tom Bauler. The multiple roles of sustainability indicators in informational governance: between intended use and unanticipated influence. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Elsevier, 2016, 18, pp.1 - 9. ⟨10.1016/j.cosust.2015.05.009⟩. ⟨hal-01511021⟩

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