Table of Contents

Handbook of Sustainability Assessment

Handbook of Sustainability Assessment

Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series

Edited by Angus Morrison-Saunders, Jenny Pope and Alan Bond

The Handbook of Sustainability Assessment introduces the theory and practice of sustainability assessment and showcases the state-of-the-art research. The aim is to provide inspiration and guidance to students, academics and practitioners alike and to contribute to the enhancement of sustainability assessment practice worldwide. It emphasises how traditional impact assessment practices can be enhanced to contribute to sustainable outcomes. Featuring original contributions from leading sustainability assessment researchers and practitioners, it forms part of the Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series.

Chapter 3: The economics of sustainable development

Nick Hanley

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


Central to sustainability assessment is the concept of sustainable development – a term on which there is no single, agreed definition. One very important interpretation is that made by economists, given the importance placed on economic implications by decision makers. The purpose of this chapter is, thus, to set out the economics of sustainable development to set the context for consideration of the economic pillar of sustainable development within sustainability assessment, and to detail how economists have grappled with the concept and the tools they have derived to measure progress towards sustainable development.

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