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Multilevel and multi-user sustainability assessment of farming systems

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Sustainability assessment is needed to build sustainable farming systems. A broad range of sustainability concepts, methodologies and applications already exists. They differ in level, focus, orientation, measurement, scale, presentation and intended end-users. In this paper we illustrate that a smart combination of existing methods with different levels of application can make sustainability assessment more profound, and that it can broaden the insights of different end-user groups. An overview of sustainability assessment tools on different levels and for different end-users shows the complementarities and the opportunities of using different methods. In a case-study, a combination of the sustainable value approach (SVA) and MOTIFS is used to perform a sustainability evaluation of farming systems in Flanders. SVA is used to evaluate sustainability at sector level, and is especially useful to support policy makers, while MOTIFS is used to support and guide farmers towards sustainability at farm level. The combined use of the two methods with complementary goals can widen the insights of both farmers and policy makers, without losing the particularities of the different approaches. To stimulate and support further research and applications, we propose guidelines for multilevel and multi-user sustainability assessments. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal: Environmental Impact Assessment Review
ISSN: 0195-9255
Issue: 1
Volume: 32
Pages: 170 - 180
Number of pages: 11
Publication year:2012
Keywords:Sustainability assessment, Multilevel, Sustainable value, Farming systems, Environmental Studies, motifs, End-user groups, eco-efficiency, dairy farms, environmental indicators, agricultural production, specialized dairy, management, performance, frame...