Selecting a sustainability assessment framework

Selecting a sustainability assessment framework

Which sustainability systems are relevent to infrastructure and development projects?

Key issues

  • Many different sustainability assessment frameworks exist
  • Infrastructure and development projects are particularly challenging in their varying geographical, social and political constraints and diverse incentives amongst stakeholders
  • One of the key barriers for the implementation and delivery of sustainable infrastructure projects in the developing country context is the limitation in capacity and effectiveness of institutional structures and processes
  • Developing sustainable 'pro-poor' infrastructure in practice requires tools that support the integration of poverty reduction and sustainability objectives throughout the entire infrastructure project life cycle
  • Tools must be viable for practical application on infrastructure projects and must link sustainability and poverty criteria in one system that also addresses institutional issues

There are a number of assessment systems for application in infrastructure and engineering projects which specifically incorporate aspects of sustainability and poverty reduction including:

After ASPIRE R&D Document (2009)

Tailor assessment appraoch for complex projects

Sustainability assessment considerations

  • Established rating and assessment systems work well for design projects with clear scope boundaries, but the scale and complexity of large-scale infrastructure and development projects may sometimes warrant a tailored approach to assessment

  • While tailored sustainability assessments may be deemed an appropriate response to a specific project context it should always build on, support and link to existing and required forms of economic, social and environmental assessment

  • The ultimate goal should be to support the integration of poverty reduction and sustainability objectives without imposing a cumbersome and redundant system onto a project

  • Selected systems should utilise both qualitative and quantitative evidence that effectively capture the views of the end user

A simple methodology for deciding whether or not established and/or tailored sustainability assessment systems are appropriate, is as follows: