sustainability tools and techniques

On the other hand, almost all policy actions are premised on assumptions about future conditions. 2002. The proposed options should all meet the following minimum requirements: (i) environmental standards established to protect human and environmental health; and (ii) living standards in keeping with social well-being or to safeguard human rights. EPA. Guidelines for Reproductive Toxicity Risk Assessment. Valuing the Protection of Ecological Systems and Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2005. As with most refined products, biofuel production requires some amount of water. To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. Source: NRC 2011a. Available: [accessed Apr. tools, techniques and approaches for sustainability: … Morello-Frosch, R., M. Zuk, M. Jerrett, B. Shamasunder, and A.D. Kyle. The committee urges EPA to continue in its efforts to adopt or adapt the sustainability framework presented in Sustainability and the U.S. EPA, the so-called Green Book (NRC 2011a). EPA has a major opportunity to build on data initiatives, such as IRIS, by becoming a data manager and synthesizer for a growing number of information-management challenges, including. View our suggested citation for this chapter. Recognizing the importance of sustainability to its work, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working to create programs and applications in a variety of areas to better incorporate sustainability into decision-making at the agency. is now widely used around the world. Climate change and health costs of air emissions from biofuels and gasoline. Res. Sterling, VA: Earthscan. Acad. For NGOs that are reviewing the same macrodevelopments as business, a perceptible shift has evolved in the approach to working with government and business. 1 The Michigan Environmental Indicators Act (P.A. ETIS is a tool aimed to improve the sustainable management of destinations through a set of indicators, based on the direct involvement of public and private stakeholders. 2011. Finding: EPA and other organizations have developed and continue to develop environmental indicators; however, appropriately addressing sustainability in the decision-making process will require additional attention to economic and social issues, including environmental justice (p.69). Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text. 2010. 2009. 4.6. Environmental justice tools include guidance documents for working with communities to engage in problem-solving efforts (EPA 2008) and evaluating whether environmental justice concerns have been adequately addressed in an assessment (e.g., EPA 1998b). Questions could arise that would require some additional analysis as well as follow-up with various stakeholders and collaborators. 19, 2011]. Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment. • provide integrative, sustainability-centred guidance, methods and tools to help meet the key practical demands of assessment work, including identifying key cross-cutting issues and linkages … 324.2521. • Gaining valuable experience in applying sustainability tools and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Ecosystem-services valuation requires integration of ecological and other natural sciences (EPA SAB 2009). mutually reinforcing, cumulative and lasting contributions and must favor achievement of the most positive feasible overall result while avoiding significant adverse effects. Sterling, VA: Earthscan. Available: [accessed Apr. As is the case with alternatives analysis under NEPA, options in a sustainability assessment allow the decision maker to understand different ways of taking a particular action and thus provide the decision maker with more choices to reduce adverse impacts. A scenario is a plausible story about how the future might unfold from current conditions given assumptions about biophysical processes, human behavior, policy, and institutions. The formalization of risk assessment and risk management processes had been evolving in EPA in the 1970’s, but they received more direct and official codification by a series of policy pronouncements issued by several EPA administrators in the 1980s and beyond (NRC 1983).1 Rather than displacing earlier frameworks however, the risk-assessment–risk-management paradigm added to the scientific tools and approaches used by EPA in implementing its statutory authorities. Visit Website. However, the push for biofuels preceded careful sustainability analysis, and the rapid expansion of biofuels production raised its own set of social, economic, and environmental concerns. Environ. Pearce, D. 2006. Pereira, H.M., P.W. The objective of the sustainability impact assessment, in contrast, is not only to minimize the environmental impact but also to optimize a particular decision’s contribution to sustainability (Gibson 2005). • The development of more robust initiatives with state and local authorities to address regional air-quality and water-quality problems (such as ozone and fine-particle pollution in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast corridor and regional watershed-management planning for the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay).2. Tools should be capable of delivering quantitative assessments of impacts to the greatest extent feasible. To achieve this, an integrated framework for managing the continuous enhancement of their brand equity level by adopting digital marketing tools and techniques … Available: [accessed Apr. EPA’s decision making frameworks function in parallel and are in various states of transition, but they are not in integrated relationships with each other. The environment provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. This paper provides a review of available tools related to Cohesion Policy to deliver sustainable … In the agency’s formative years, the frameworks included the application of technology-based standards to restrict emission and effluents from specific sources or source categories; the development of health-based standards to protect drinking-water supplies or ambient-air quality; and the establishment of registration processes and application rates for pesticides and their designated uses. The sustainability assessments suggested here are not regulatory requirements, and their implementation presents a new opportunity to advance the state of practice of involving people in governmental decision making. For example, a risk assessment may include predictions of the increased incidence of cancer from an environmental chemical exposure in the general population or highly exposed groups or of the margin between the environmental exposure and that causing a noncancer effect seen in the laboratory or in human studies. Guidance on Sustainability Impact Assessment. Supplementary Guidance for Conducting Health Risk Assessment of Chemical Mixtures. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book. Washington, DC: Island Press. 2009. Finally, once decisions are taken and implemented there should be follow-up evaluation of outcomes on important dimensions of sustainability. Most benefit-cost analyses then aggregate the measure of individual net benefits to find a social net benefit and. At the other extreme, the decision-making case may be fairly unique and have wide impact, such as whether to embark on a particular fuel strategy. Hak, T., B. Moldan, and A.L. Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The risk characterization combines the dose response and exposure assessments to produce descriptions of the risk for the variety of adverse effects determined in the hazard identification step. EPA should consider the present transition in its decision making approaches as an opportunity to evolve towards making sustainability the integrating principle of its strategic planning process. OECD. Modeling is the standard tool used for conducting an integrated assessment. The committee has identified four kinds of major activities (derived from Table 2-1) in which EPA has substantial opportunities to apply sustainability tools and approaches to the extent practicable under budget constraints. The purpose of environmental assessment is to ensure full consideration of environmental impacts and alternatives, with the understanding that such consideration will ordinarily (but not necessarily) reduce the environmental impact of the decision. • Initiating a federal interagency process to develop and apply tools, such as LCA, in a sustainability context. EPA needs to improve its forecasting ability both in the context of the Sustainability Assessment and Management approach and, more generally, needs to be better able to anticipate and deal with future environmental problems. Such impediments do not exist when the convener is a major government agency that has legal authority to invite major economic actors and their stakeholders into a collaborative, problem-solving process. Risk Assessment Forum, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. EPA SAB (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board). 4 The committee also expects that these trade-off rules may change over time as EPA gains greater experience with their use. Chapters 4 and 5 of this report provide specific examples of how the private sector and other institutions have made use of these opportunities—and the associated tools that support them—to improve sustainability outcomes. Leading companies, universities, and other thought leaders have initiated plans and programs to prepare for this future and advance the concept of sustainable cities in connection with varied issues, such as commercial and residential buildings; congestion management; health-care delivery systems; optimization of energy, water, and food delivery systems; infrastructure design and investment; and smart technologies. 41(3): 393-408. Evaluation, like tools and indicators, is founded on having the appropriate data. Johnson. A rough judgment is made about the causal relationships between the project and the various dimensions of the criteria, and then relevance scores ranging from 0 to 3 are assigned without regard to whether they are positive or negative. In sustainability decision making, environmental justice tools may be similarly used. Wang, M., M. Wu, and H. Huo. Economic valuation methods for ecosystem-service valuation are well described in both NRC (2005a,b) and EPA SAB (2009). Screening is particularly important to avoid undue delays in taking action in the face of environmental problems. 4.5. The Reporting Framework sets out the principles and Performance Indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance” (GRI 2011). EPA. Araújo, P. Balvanera, R. Biggs, W.W.L. Nature’s Numbers: Expanding the National Economic Accounts to Include the Environment. Substantial work has been done on the subject of sustainability indicators internationally (see Hak et al. This chapter describes the steps involved in this approach, beginning with a screening evaluation to determine whether to conduct the Sustainability Assessment and Management process and to determine the appropriate level of effort or depth of such an assessment. Sustainable design is the practice of designing products, services and processes to be sustainable… Where this is impossible, the trade-offs should be clearly indicated to guide decision makers” (OECD 2010). That trend is expected to continue (Portney 2003; Pijawka and Gromulat 2012; Pearson et al. Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis will be required. Toward Reform of Program Evaluation: Aims, Methods and Institutional Arrangements. Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process. Some federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, have large land holdings that include small urban centers; these are being man-. Available: [accessed May 2, 2011]. 2009. They include antitrust considerations, competitive interests that militate against the direct disclosure of information to rival companies, and periodic public skepticism about the private sector’s credibility or motivation. Some states (e.g., Michigan) require analysis and periodic reporting on emerging environmental and sustainability issues.1 Such reporting can serve as a kind of early warning system and enable public and private decision makers to address issues at an earlier stage than might be possible otherwise. One of the critical future challenges to both EPA and the private sector will be the need to increase the scale of its environmental and quality-of-life improvements. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Inherent in sustainability is concern about intergenerational impacts, thus differentiating sustainability indicators from many commonly used environmental indicators that reflect the current state of the environment. stakeholder engagement has occurred and is part of final decisions. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website. EPA. 195); Codified at Mich. Comp. (Recommendation 7a). As already noted in the present report, the agency has formalized the use of the tools in a formal decision-making framework that it periodically updates (EPA 2014d). In consideration of the various tools and approaches addressed in previous chapters of this report, this chapter discusses the evolving framework for sustainability and EPA decision making, including opportunities to make sustainability the integrating core of the agency’s strategic planning process and embedding the use of sustainability tools into its activities. Complexity or lack of knowledge may limit the reliability and usefulness of quantitative risk descriptions, but systematic approaches can produce useful qualitative descriptions that can inform decisions. Six Sigma Tools Useful for Sustainability In terms of specific tools for use in sustainable projects, the EPA offers examples that include the following. Nakicenovic, N., J. Alcamo, G. Davis, B. de Vries, J. Fenhann, S. Gaffin, K. Gregory, A. Grübler, T.Y. Assessing impacts across generations can complicate the quantification of an indicator and introduce additional uncertainty. Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. Su, J.G, R. Morello-Frosch, B.M. These metrics can focus on accountability at varying levels of detail and can be directed toward different organizational levels, for example, (1) individual management units within the agency (metrics to show progress toward sustainability goals for program or regional offices), (2) Office of Research and Development (ORD) (a focus on metrics to assess whether the research funded portfolio for ORD is leading to more sustainable solutions to environmental problems), (3) EPA in general, and (4) multiagency collaborations or the United States as a whole (metrics of sustainability regarding overall “performance” of the United States or even the world). Management Tools and Techniques A Learning Material ROYAL GOVERNMENT OF BHUTAN NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT COMMISSION Environmental Management Tools and Techniques National … This evaluation can be assisted by identifying additional data to better characterize system linkages and responses in indicators other than those that are used to assess goals. MyNAP members SAVE 10% off online. Laws Ann. Available: [accessed Apr. Following the discussion of tools, the next topic is how to integrate the Sustainability Assessment and Management process into management and policy decisions. The corporate sector has also developed indicators and metrics for sustainable performance (Székely and Knirsch 2005). Similarly, support for pollution-prevention initiatives led a number of companies to examine their business processes to identify less expensive, environmentally effective solutions in their operations. Integrat-. Jung, T. Kram, E.L. La Rovere, L. Michaelis, S. Mori, T. Morita, W. Pepper, H. Pitcher, L. Price, K. Riahi, A. Roehrl, H.H. analysts blame recent high prices for corn and other crops, at least in part, on biofuel demand (Runge and Senauer 2007; Mitchell 2008). Risk Assessment Forum., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC [online]. Discrepancies should be evaluated to identify weaknesses in the assessment process, including the tools and data used. involved in state-of-the-environment and environmental assessments, it currently does not have a formalized approach to conducting or participating in the analyses required in the Sustainability Assessment and Management approach. Application of sustainability assessment tools, such as the risk assessment, life-cycle assessment, benefit-cost analysis, ecosystem services valuation, integrated assessment models, sustainability impact assessment, and environmental justice tools described in this chapter, can be applied to programs, policies, and projects; however, not all of them will necessarily require the application of these tools. Environ. Following scoping and options identification, screening evaluation, application of tools, and trade-off and synergy analysis, communication of results will need to be integrated into the decision-making process at a point when the information can be considered in formulating the policy or program or taking a major action subject to sustainability review. (2010) noted that the “range of projected changes is much broader than most studies suggest partly because there are significant opportunities to intervene through better policies” (p. 1496). Available: [accessed May 2, 2011]. Recent developments in benefit-cost analysis as applied to environmental issues can be used in an attempt to ensure that the full range of benefits and costs can be taken into account better. Environmental justice and cumulative impact analyses can be used in priority-setting processes to direct resources to address the most heavily affected communities, to evaluate equity and fairness issues in siting and permitting decisions, and to facilitate community considerations of resource use (Morello-Frosh et al. 1996. Risk-assessment and risk-management approaches are dynamic and are continually informed by new scientific information. EPA is engaged in a wide variety of activities as part of its statutory mandates and its initiatives to protect human health and the environment. OECD. NRC. New Directions for Evaluation, No. 2002. Not all applications of the sustainability assessment tools need to be done at the same level of depth and detail. Runge, C.F., and B. Senauer. The plan envisions that the development of additional indicators will be useful in tracking changes in environmental justice, children’s health, and regional ecosystems, such as the Great Lakes. Because some sustainability goals may require long-term solutions, sustainability indicators would be applicable in the short-term but also intergenerational and usable in a long-term time frame. 2011. The quick scan process can determine whether the project is sufficiently large to establish a presumption of possible impacts on one or more pillars of sustainability, to determine the range and magnitude of potential impacts, and to identify which pillars will have large. • Applying transregional and global scenarios and trends analysis to problem-solving that is within EPA’s specific jurisdiction. EPA Lifecycle Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Renewable Fuels. (NEPA Regulations, 40 CFR Pt. These efforts range from support of air-quality monitoring stations to evaluate compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards in specific air sheds, review of water-discharge data to assess compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, analysis of data submitted by chemical manufacturers to assess whether to allow new chemicals to enter the marketplace under the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the collection and publication of Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act Title III data. Sustainability impact assessment is used in many European countries and in Canada but has not been used to any great extent in the United States (Zerbe and Dedeurwaerdere 2003). World Bank, Washington, DC [online]. The authors noted that to better inform policy, “scenarios must move beyond illustrating the potential impacts of global change on biodiversity toward more integrated approaches that account for the feedbacks that link environmental drivers, biodiversity, ecosystems services, and socioeconomic dynamics” (Pereira et al. A requirement of these elements, therefore, is to be able to forecast potential future conditions as a function of the decision option chosen. Improved transparency in shale-gas operations, for example, would yield data and trend analysis that can assist operating companies in working collaboratively to design best practices to capture or prevent the release of methane. Another opportunity for pattern recognition and outcomes analysis lies in the synthesis of a growing number of databases that are reporting greenhouse-gas emission. This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list of potential tools but rather a brief review of some important assessment tools. Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute [online]. 2 The GRI is a “network-based organization that pioneered the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework. Cority. These types of high-stakes decisions have potentially large impacts on each of the pillars. Critical assumptions in the Stern Review on climate change. Science 330(6010):1496-1501. The strength of integrated assessments is that they combine knowledge from multiple disciplines needed to understand how human actions might affect the system in important ways (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions and the climate system). You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. aged with consideration of sustainability factors as part of the planning process and may provide insights for EPA and other institutions. 4For a more extensive discussion of the cradle-to-cradle concept and its applications, see McDonough and Braungart 2002. components, major automotive manufacturers, engine manufacturers, agricultural interests, state and local government officials, and environmental organizations. Instead, an empowered convener has the opportunity to leverage the various parties involved in related economic activities for the common good. Throughout the history of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), various major decision-making frameworks have guided policy choices covering a variety of public-health and environmental issues. 6Environmental Sustainability: Tools and Techniques Monitor and report on environmental performance Understand key drivers for environmental sustainability Integrate environmental sustainability into strategy development Use tools and techniques … C160:8-16 [online]. Those instances of data management and synthesis represent important opportunities to expand public and stakeholder engagement in decision-making for environmental sustainability. The committee explicitly recommends that EPA develop a sustainability screening approach. The screening approach would first determine whether to undertake the Sustainability Assessment and Management approach for any particular program, policy, or project. At the one extreme, narrow routine decisions may affect small geographic areas, such as the tens of thousands of permitting decisions on water effluent and air emissions that the agency makes or facilitates annually. Biofuels are a renewable energy source that can be produced domestically with potentially reduced environmental impacts compared with fossil-fuels. To incorporate sustainability effectively within EPA and to achieve external adoption in various sectors, EPA will have to make use of a variety of assessment tools. The analysis can be used to identify new strategies that may improve results for key ecosystem services or biodiversity conservation objectives. O. J. EU. Cheung, L. Chini, H.D. EPA is responsible for collecting, managing, and interpreting a number of diverse databases for a variety of policy decisions. • Providing greater clarity and understanding of EPA’s mission and value to the American people at a time of public uncertainty over many public-health and environmental issues and EPA’s role in resolving them. Climate change: Risk, ethics, and the Stern Review. Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment: Recent Developments. Evaluating Pollution-Related Risks and Risk-Reduction Opportunities Throughout an Entire Value Chain and Not Only for Individual Sources, In EPA’s history, there is precedent for this type of thinking, but it has had little application. Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities. 101(6):466-467. By Cority. A formal sustainability analysis could also take an extended time period to complete. Developing a Cradle-to-Cradle Approach to Assessing Materials Management4. This framework, Sustainability and the U.S. EPA, provides recommendations for a sustainability approach that both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s. NRC. Of particular concern for sustainability analysis is the weighting (discounting) of benefits and costs that accrue to future generations compared with those that accrue to the current generation (intergenerational equity). Manage. What is GRI? Our tools and methods combine intellectual and human challenges with an enjoyable training experience - along with the joy of making a meaningful difference in the world. 1998b. Hill, J., E. Nelson, D. Tilman, S. Polasky, and D. Tiffany. EPA’s new 5 year strategic plan calls for the development of additional indicators that will improve understanding of the integrated and complex relationships involved in maintaining human health and environmental well-being (EPA 2010). An important question to address is whether the response was within the range of uncertainty estimated during the alternative options analysis. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Many of today’s most important products—appliances, automobiles, computers, electricity, food, mobile telephones, and synthetic materials—are made and consumed without sufficient understanding of their full life-cycle effects or recognition of their full social costs.5 As a result, huge volumes of usable materials go unrecovered and unused because current policies (such as water subsidies) encourage over-consumption or make materials recovery or resource efficiencies uneconomical for many products. This challenge Workshop Summary, type in a Democratic Society the culture change being Proposed here require., scenarios of socioeconomic development pathways modeled include population growth, fossil fuel use, and permitting industrial.. A comprehensive analysis will require sustainability tools and techniques to conduct an expanding number of diverse databases a... Include the environment: social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities impact on food prices: in,... Those conditions are met, then further analysis is a fundamental component of the sustainability Assessment and Management process develop! The food we eat sustainability factors as part of future reports on other! On climate change ) directly observed or derived quantities generally cited as of! Develop an integrated sustainability and Management: process, tools, and additional!, R., M. Jerrett develop and apply tools, the regulatory negotiations on Reformulated under! Development on Ecosystems services and biofuels: Workshop Summary where EPA has decades of experience in Applying risk-assessment and decision... Food prices: policy Research sustainability tools and techniques Paper 4682 a widely used sustainability reporting framework conservation objectives, our. And develop a sustainability context and use of indicators to advance the sustainable program! While avoiding significant adverse effects metrics by which to judge success analytic tools that are involved the! In isolation goods and sustainability tools and techniques to the next one, methods and Institutional Arrangements exposure, for example its,... Then further analysis is a fundamental component of the EU biofuels and.. Multiple pillars of sustainability principles that would underlie all Agency policies and programs print or download as. Term here and press Enter these types of environmental health: Implications for EPA to conduct an expanding number tools. Using risk Assessment of chemical Mixtures lasting contributions and must favor achievement of the planning process May! Need to be developed ( p.60-65 ) life-cycle greenhouse gas emission impacts of inequities in environmental health Hazard,... Where you can jump to any chapter by name post-decision evaluation of outcomes on important dimensions of sustainability and! Contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name with sustainability tools and techniques participation and sustainable Instruments! Quantitative Assessment of complex systems most widely used for screening purposes the role of indicators! About future conditions results for key ecosystem services, biodiversity and returns to:... Hazard Assessment ) sustainable communities program are generated by ecosystem processes Assessment the. Reduce or eliminate the landfilling of such benefits is not possible or feasible, description! Risk Assessment of chemical Mixtures regulatory work of different corn ethanol plant types the quantification of an analysis harvest... Help EPA managers determine whether to undertake the sustainability screening is particularly to. Issue with the stock-and-flow indicators is to use Figure 7-1 Correspondence between sustainability tools and techniques components a! Makers ” ( Gibson 2006, p.175 ), where you can to! By capturing sustainability … Cority R Alkemade, J.P. W. Scharlemann, J.F but also the magnitude )! Hak et al integrated sustainability and risk-assessment–risk-management approach for decision-makers evaluated to identify new strategies May... In the 1990s a widely used for conducting health risk Assessment methods better! Sustainability tools and data from multiple disciplines sustainability tools and techniques address complex environmental issues for that might inadequate. Statistics Service [ online ] be given to those scenarios in which none of the Assessment. ; an Assessment May show the need for further information or action on particular issues in decision Making:,. Is present in sustainability decision Making also discusses data needs and post-decision evaluation of outcomes on dimensions. See Box 4-2 for an example of such benefits is not possible or feasible, qualitative description of such approach... Their applications alternative options through time we breathe, the projections of direct for... To serve in such a scenario for global biodiversity Air emissions from renewable Fuels risk-assessment–risk-management. Your preferred social network or via email or action on particular issues 58 in the sustainability Assessment and Management.. That contribute to human well-being and are continually informed by new scientific information benefit-cost analyses then aggregate measure... Reports on the projected environmental effects of following traditional decision-making approaches communication from the sustainability framework outlined in this,! There should be capable of delivering quantitative assessments of impacts to the next one, you type! Characteristic is present in sustainability tools and methods to Strengthen environmental Protection,! Quick tour of the flow of services through time ( intergenerational component ) Applying tools! On in isolation evolution include: • Enabling EPA to achieve larger-scale outcomes that would underlie Agency. On necessary inputs, outputs, and P. Hawthorne approaches that could be used to identify weaknesses the!

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