Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 691–702 | Cite as

The triple value model: a systems approach to sustainable solutions

  • Joseph Fiksel
  • Randy Bruins
  • Annette Gatchett
  • Alice Gilliland
  • Marilyn ten Brink
Original Paper


The unintended environmental impacts of economic development threaten the continued availability of ecosystem services that are critical to human well-being. An integrated systems approach is needed to characterize sustainability problems and evaluate potential solutions. The Triple Value Model is an innovative framework that depicts the dynamic linkages and resource flows among industrial, societal, and environmental systems. The U.S. EPA has begun using this model to support transdisciplinary research projects that focus upon water resources, communities, and other broad sustainability themes. One recent application addresses opportunities for mitigation of nutrient impairment in the Narragansett Bay watershed, and has produced a policy simulation tool that enables evaluation of alternative sustainable solutions.


Sustainability Systems thinking Triple value model Integrated assessment 



Substantial portions of this article are based upon the work of the FIRST Project Team, consisting of Joseph Fiksel (project leader), Rochelle Araujo, Randy Bruins, Rory Conolly, David Dix, Rebecca Dodder, Thomas Fontaine, Annette Gatchett, Alice Gilliland, John Leazer, Anne Sergeant, Marilyn ten Brink, and Cynthia Yund. The FIRST results were reviewed by a senior advisory committee, consisting of Subhas Sikdar (chair), Sally Darney, Herb Fredrickson, Anne Grambsch, Jonathan Herrmann, Bob Kavlock, Rick Linthurst, John Powers, Andy Miller, Donna Perla, Peter Preuss, Glenn Suter, and Hal Zenick. Leading contributors to the Narragansett project include Andrea Bassi, Gary Foley, Matt Hoagland, Johanna Hunter, Ira Leighton, Ken Moraff, Margherita Pryor, Curt Spalding, Marilyn Ten Brink, Beth Termini, Hal Walker, and many other EPA staff members, as well as the Industrial Economics, Inc. team led by Eric Ruder. The authors would also like to thank Paul Anastas, Sally Gutierrez, Alan Hecht, Lek Kadeli, Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, and Cynthia Sonich-Mullin for their valuable guidance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Fiksel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Randy Bruins
    • 1
  • Annette Gatchett
    • 1
  • Alice Gilliland
    • 1
  • Marilyn ten Brink
    • 1
  1. 1.Office of Research and DevelopmentU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Resilience at the The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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