Assessment of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the indicators for sustainable development

Vladimir Strezov*, Annette Evans, Tim J. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)


Nine different indices for measuring sustainable development, comprising Change in Wealth Index (CWI), Ecological Footprint (EF), Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), Genuine Savings Index (GSI), Global Well-Being Index (GWI), Happy Planet Index (HPI), Human Development Index (HDI) and Sustainable Society Index (SSI) were selected in this study. The indices were analysed for their ability to measure the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development. Only two indices (SSI and GSI) considered all three dimensions of sustainable development, while the remaining measured either the socio-economic, socio-environmental or just economic and environmental dimensions. A normalized average sustainability index (NASI) was proposed in this study, calculated as an average index of all nine. Switzerland, Norway and Sweden were the countries with the highest, while Burundi, Sierra Leone and Niger were the countries with the lowest NASI scores. The deviation of each index compared with NASI was determined, resulting in GWI followed by HDI having the lowest deviation from the average rankings. The publication contribution of the scientific literature towards the three dimensions of sustainable development for each individual index was further analysed and discussed, identifying public health as one of the potential overarching indicators for sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number3
Early online date23 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017



  • Ecological Footprint
  • Environmental Performance Index
  • Global Well-Being Index
  • Human Development Index
  • Normalized average sustainability index
  • Sustainable Society Index

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