Defining a fit for purpose statistically reliable sustainability indicator

Scott, E. M. , Cocchi, D. and Gemmell, J. C. (2014) Defining a fit for purpose statistically reliable sustainability indicator. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 5(3), pp. 262-267. (doi:10.1108/SAMPJ-04-2014-0024)

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Abstract

Purpose: – The purpose of this paper is to bring together an overview of the basic definitions and functions that indicators and indices have in sustainability and environmental debates. Indicators and indices are widely and increasingly used within environmental and sustainability debates; they provide “evidence” to demonstrate policy effects; they are used for communication of state and condition and to benchmark performance. However, the statistical basis of many indicators and indices is not well defined; so in one sense, they are simple arithmetic rather than inferential tools. This special issue opens up further debate around the creation and utility of indicators and indices and discusses some of the research challenges, including a sound statistical and inferential framework for indicator development. Design/methodology/approach: – This short paper brings together an overview of the basic definitions and functions that indicators and indices have in sustainability and environmental debates. Findings: – The paper summarises very broadly the rationale for and construction of indicators and indices. It also highlights areas where further work is required to ensure that the indicators are not simply arithmetic summaries but are generalisable. Originality/value: – This paper and the papers of this issue seek to enhance the debate concerning the development of reliable and robust indicators.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scott, Professor E Marian and Gemmell, Professor James Campbell
Authors: Scott, E. M., Cocchi, D., and Gemmell, J. C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing
ISSN:2040-8021
ISSN (Online):2040-803X

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