Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 149–166

How environmentally focused is the German sustainability strategy? A critical discussion of the indicators used to measure sustainable development in Germany

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10668-012-9380-6

Cite this article as:
Leukhardt, F. & Allen, S. Environ Dev Sustain (2013) 15: 149. doi:10.1007/s10668-012-9380-6

Abstract

There are hardly any critical discussions of sustainable development indicator sets designed for use at the national level. This article aims at rectifying this omission in critical academic research by contributing to the discourse on environmental sustainability with an assessment of the indicator set used for the measurement of sustainable development in Germany. It will evaluate to what extent the sustainable development concept is reflected in the structure of the strategy and analyse in how far fundamental environmental issues are covered by the indicator set. The discussion will show that the environmental dimension of the sustainability concept is not sufficiently integrated in the German National Sustainable Development Strategy. Although the strategy’s indicator set contains a range of environmental indicators, gaps in the German indicator set become apparent when contrasted with important issues of sustainability. It will be concluded that the environmental dimension of the sustainable development concept is not the recurrent theme in either the strategy or the indicator set.

Keywords

Measurement of sustainable developmentSustainability indicatorsNational sustainable development strategy Germany

Abbreviation

CDM

Clean development mechanism

CO2

Carbon dioxide

FSO

Federal statistical office

GDP

Gross domestic product

GHG

Greenhouse gas(es)

GNI

Gross national income

GNP

Gross national product

LDC

Least developed country

LUC

Land-use change

NMVOC

Non-methane volatile organic compounds

NOX

Nitrogen oxides

NSDS

National sustainable development strategy

ODA

Official development assistance

PM

Particulate matter

SDI

Sustainable development indicator(s)

SO2

Sulphur dioxide

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeoSciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK