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Moving to metrics: Opportunities and challenges of performance-based sustainability standards

Veale, M; Seixas, R; (2015) Moving to metrics: Opportunities and challenges of performance-based sustainability standards. Sapiens , 8 (1) Green open access

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Abstract

The rise of global sustainability standards has led to an energetic discussion about their consequences and outcomes. Almost all standards today are built around ‘technology-based’ indicators, which prescribe certain practices assumed to lead to sustainable outcomes. However we are now seeing the emergence of the first ‘performance-based’ metric sustainability indicators, directly measuring outcomes without prescribing particular methods to reach them. This paper presents the example of the Bonsucro Production Standard, a sustainability standard for the sugarcane sector, and identifies five relevant areas opened up by performance-based metrics. These are flexibility in application, provision of information, the creation of dynamic standards, the enabling of adaptive management, and the harmonisation of policy instruments. Opportunities and challenges within each area are discussed in relation to a wide literature from a variety of disciplines, informing opportunities for standard-systems to explore within their own activities, as well as an agenda for future research.

Type: Article
Title: Moving to metrics: Opportunities and challenges of performance-based sustainability standards
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://sapiens.revues.org/1713
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Keywords: sustainability, standards, sugarcane, sustainability standards, certification, performance-based standards, sustainable agriculture, private governance, adaptive management, dynamic standards, metric standards, bonsucro, biofuels
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474248
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