2nd Biennial ISIN Meeting
March 13-16, 2003, Toronto
Measuring Progress Toward Sustainability:
Where We've Been, Where We're Headed
Highlights Meeting Sessions Presentations Photos Pre-Meeting Workshops Participants Home
List of Speakers and Copies of Presentations
Friday Opening Plenary  
David Berry 
 
Progress Made in Developing and Implementing Sustainability Indicators at All Scales Over the Last Decade
 
Friday Dinner  
Stuart Smith 
 
Indicators for the Canadian National Round Table for the Environment and the Economy
 
Saturday Morning Plenary  
Hazel Henderson 
 
The Power of Indicators
 
Saturday Afternoon Plenary: Making Linkages Between Projects and Between Scales  
Alan AtKisson
Mark Anielski 
Ed Quevedo
 
 
 
Connecting Local Government, Business and Academia - A Model for Regional Agenda 21 Planning
 
   
Breakout Sessions: Developing and Using Indicators at Specific Scales
 
 
1. National Scale Indicators  
Albert Abee 
 
USDA Forest Service Experience in Applying the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators at both National and Sub-national Levels
Forested Land in the United States is jurisdictionally fragmented being managed by many Federal, state, industrial and private entities. The US legislative framework, wherein development occurs, has sustainability as a cornerstone. The U.S. journey towards sustainable forest management is problematic as forest managers lack a common language of measures to facilitate cross-jurisdictional collaboration. Planning strategies are changing to foster collaborative stewardship and harmonization of respective land use plans respecting unique goals, objectives, legislative mandates, and limitations of the land. The Montreal Process framework of criteria and indicators is providing a unifying language of measures to foster collaborative assessment, planning, and decision-making processes at both national and sub-national levels. The speaker will talk about USDA Forest Service experience in applying the MP C&I as a national unifying framework of sustainability measures that strengthens the relationship between inventory and assessments, strategic planning, and monitoring at both national and sub national scales.
Useful Web Links:
Forest Service Sustainable Web page     North East Area Criteria and Indicators     Forest Roundtable     Minerals Roundtable     Range Roundtable     Water Roundtable     Roundtable Network     Local Unit Criteria and Indicators
 
Stephen Hall 
 
UK Experiences in Developing a National Set of Indicators of Sustainable Development
The UK Government produced one of the first national sets of sustainable development indicators in 1996. A new sustainable development strategy in 1999 was accompanied by the development of a new set of around 150 indicators, and included 15 headline indicators, which are used to monitor the country's progress. These headline indicators are becoming increasingly important in bringing sustainable development into policy making and are used by stakeholders to hold the Government to account. As the Government starts the process of a review of its strategy and indicators, there are many questions and issues that need to be tackled. However, we hope the UK experience so far may provide some useful lessons for others. For more information see:www.sustainable-development.gov.uk
 
Ted Heintz 
 
A System of Sustainability Indicators for the US
 
Martin Lemire 
 
The Role of National Accounts in the NTREE Sustainability Indicators
To see more information, visit www.nrtee-trnee.ca
 
Robin O'Malley 
 
The State of the Nation's Ecosystems Project: Mechanisms to Achieve Relevance, Credibility and Legitimacy
The Heinz Center's State of the Nation's Ecosystems project included specific mechanisms to ensure the relevance of its findings to policy makers and the public, its credibility within a variety of technical disciplines, and its political legitimacy, as viewed by advocates on many sides of environmental and natural resource debates. These tools included a focus on the "so what" factor for all indicators, significant outside peer review, and involvement of individuals from business, environmental NGOs, government, and academia. For more information refer to: www.heinzctr.org/ecosystems
 
Risa Smith 
 
Developing a Credible National Process in the Canadian Context of Shared Provincial/Federal Responsibilities
 
Jan Suurland 
 
Dutch Systems of Indicators
For additional information see: www.rri.org/archived_rri_2002/envatlas/europe/netherlands/nl-mech.html
 
Iddo Wernick 
 
The Audience For National Level Sustainabilty Indicators
As part of the development of a Materials Flow Database for the United States, researchers at the World Resources Institute are actively engaging governmental departments in the United States to 1) Identify mechanisms and protocols for interagency data collection and 2) Identify what government body(ies) should play a central role in collecting data related to Sustainability and publishing the indicators resulting from those data. The presentation will offer a progress report. To read more information about this see Materials Flow Indicators Project Summary.
 
   
2. Regional Scale Indicators
 
 
 
Ron Colman 
 
The Effect of Nova Scotia's Genuine Progress Index on Provincial Politics
 
Court Gould 
 
Indicators of Regional Sustainability
The Pittsburgh region produces a wealth of data to track progress. Sustainable Pittsburgh seeks to broaden the field of view with the region's first comprehensive report. Many lessons along the way characterize the opportunity to develop a regional vision, set goals, determine indicators, and produce and present a regional indicators report. For more information, please see www.sustainablepittsburgh.org
 
Joy Hecht 
 
Tracking the State from Outside the Government: The Experience of the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute
NJSSI was created in 2002 as an independent organization responsible for a set of state-level sustainability indicators. This presentation will cover progress and challenges in establishing our credibility, how we believe the indicators should be used, who is interested in them, and related issues. For more information, please see New Jersey Sustainable Institute
 
Allison Leavitt 
 
Sustainable Indicators for the Cincinnati Region
Sustainable Cincinnati: A Regional Indicators Project was born of the belief that the 8-county, tri-state metropolitan region, of which the City of Cincinnati is the core, can become a sustainable community by paying attention to where we are now and holding one another accountable for our future. The indicators project is a grassroots effort that evolved from a handful of organizations convened by the League of Women Voters in 1999 to explore the sustainable community idea, to a coalition of 56 organizations from across the tri-state region. The diverse coalition includes local governments, nonprofit organizations, universities, businesses, and faith-based groups. These diverse interests and personalities came together, listened to one another, debated, listened to national consultants, and over the course of two years decided on 14 key indicators for the region. To date, a first-cut effort to provide measurements for the indicators has been completed. Throughout the two-year process, many barriers appeared, including lack of funding, communicating across diverse interest groups, accepting our connection as a region (e.g. rural vs. urban, state vs. state, environmental vs. economic vs. social issues), and developing consensus on targets. The committed organizations and their representatives were able to build bridges cross some of these barriers, resulting in important successes that are the first steps toward a more sustainable region. For more information on sustainability in the Greater Cincinnati Area see www.sustainablecincinnati.org and www.sba.muohio.edu/csss2/.
 
Steve Litke 
 
Sustainability Indicators for the Fraser Basin - a Tool for Change
The Fraser Basin Council has developed a set of indicators to measure the state of sustainability in the Fraser Basin - a large river basin located in British Columbia. The indicators will help facilitate progress towards sustainability by engaging basin residents and stakeholders in developing collaborative actions to address current sustainability trends. The Council developed its indicators by researching indicator initiatives, soliciting expert advice, and through dialogue with government, civil society, the private sector, and the general public. An advisory committee assisted in data collection and analysis.
The Council presented a suite indicators, profiling 16 sustainability issues in the "Snapshot on Sustainability: State of the Fraser Basin Report", which was released in January 2003 at the "State of the Fraser Basin" conference. The indicators for the Fraser Basin are easily understood and reflect issues of broad concern in the Basin. There remains a need to enhance the availability and quality of indicator data over time if indicators are to continue to be a useful tool for change. This will require further dialogue and collaboration among many partners interested in - and responsible for - the collection and analysis of information about sustainability. Ongoing cooperation, coordination, and networking among indicator practitioners would strengthen future indicator work. For more information, please see The Fraser Basin Council, British Columbia

 
Harvey Shear 
 
Development and Implementation of Ecosystem Health Indicators in a BiNational, Multi-Jurisdictional Setting
Assessing the health of the North American Great Lakes Basin ecosystem is a significant challenge. The Lakes themselves contain one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water with over 17,000 kilometres of shoreline. The Basin consists of over 520,000 square kilometres of land with about 33.5 million people living there. The Basin (including the St. Lawrence River) is governed by two nations, eight states, two provinces, and hundreds of municipal and local governments. A set of Great Lakes Basin ecosystem health indicators will enable the Great Lakes community to work together within a consistent framework to assess and monitor changes in the state of the ecosystem. Data collected through various governmental and non-government programs can be analyzed, interpreted, and ecosystem health information characterized within a series of such indicators. A consensus by environmental management agencies and other interested stakeholders about what information is necessary and sufficient to characterize the state of Great Lakes ecosystem health, and to measure progress toward ecosystem goals, will facilitate more efficient monitoring and reporting programs. This paper will present the process for indicator selection or development, with some examples of indicator reporting. For more information refer to www.binational.net.
 
John Wells 
 
Measuring Sustainability in Minnesota
 
   
3. Community Scale Indicators
 
 
 
Alan AtKisson 
 
Sustainability Compass
 
Joyce Baker 
 
Impact through Indicators: Using Indicators in an Index to Make and Communicate Funding Decisions in a Non-profit Setting
 
David Bell 
 
Indicators and Sustainability Governance
How important are sustainability metrics to effective governance? What kinds of decision-making "tools" are needed to ensure that indicators inform decisions? How can indicators be designed to track performance in relation to sustainability commitments by governments and other organizations? How can indicators be effectively embedded in community governance documents like Comprehensive Plans? What is the role of transparency and reporting?
 
Dean Kubani 
 
Santa Monica's Sustainable City Program: Building Civic Capacities
 
Linda Harvey 
 
Tales from the Trenches: Hamilton's Indicator Reporting Experience
Hamilton has managed an award-winning Sustainability Indicators program over the last nine years. Given the advantage of having learned by doing, the VISION 2020 Indicators program is now able to apply this learning to adapt the Indicators program to provide more substantive input into the decision-making in the community and the City corporation. Expanding from a public engagement tool to a management tool, the Indicators program has been amended by a focus on relationships and synthesis. The purpose is to: (1) help us see how disparate trends on individual indicators are interacting to produce outcomes; (2) reveal needed partnerships and coordination between public and private actors and between municipal departments; and (4) identify opportunities for effective policy and program intervention. Synthesis of indicator results and trends provides the integrated perspective needed to develop innovative solutions by revealing systemic constraints to progress. This is of critical importance given the complex issues facing communities and their government and the limited financial resources available. The systemic perspective allows for more focused problem definition. This can result in greater efficiencies in programs and budgeting and greater effectiveness in accelerating positive change.
 
Martin Herzog 
Meg Shields 
 
Sustainability Initiatives in Toronto
Following the development of an Environmental Plan which charted a green strategy for the City, a multi-sectoral body was established to advise Council on advancing sustainability in Toronto. Its mandate is to provide input on the means to ensure decisions are based on sustainability principles - long term, multi-disciplainary and integrated thinking, collarorative engagement, and creative problem solving. The presentation will provide an overview of the processes, products and accomplishments by the City's Sustainability Roundtable over the past two years. A specific focus will be on tools and instruments to measure outcomes and enhace sustainability-based decsision making.
 
Virginia MacLaren 
 
Lessons Learned from Community Indicator Projects in Canada
 
Chris Paterson 

 
Overview of Civic Capacity in Relation to Effective Use of Indicators
 
Kris Prendergast 
Allison Quaid 
Dean Kubani 
 
Benchmarking Community Sustainability: An Assessment of Progress
Where do local communities stand in terms of sustainability? To date, although it is common to see rankings of communities for a variety of attributes (best place to live, most affordable, best schools, etc), there has been no organized comparison of communities in terms of progress toward sustainable development. Join community practitioners and sustainability experts in discussing the benefits of and barriers to benchmarking community sustainability. Is there a common set of indicators that could be used to compare and contrast diverse communities? What are the data issues that need to be addressed to develop effective benchmarks for sustainability? Given available data, how does one make meaningful interpretations of the comparisons?
 
Allison Quaid 
 
Incorporating Indicators in Community Planning Documents
 
   
4. Organization/Corporate Scale Indicators
 
 
 
Gil Friend 
 
KPI software - Engaging Cross-Functional/Multi-Stakeholder Public in Selection of Meaningful Indicators
 
Tony Genco 
 
Understanding Sustainability - Indicators in the Evolution at Downsview Park
 
Anthony Hodge 
 
Seven Questions to Sustainability - Example from Mining Industry
For more information see: Seven Questions to Sustainability
 
Scott Johnson 
 
Balanced Scorecard - Integrating Environmental Performance into Organizational Objectives
 
Andrew Jones 
 
Action to Outcome Mapping: A New Methodology for Marrying Systems Thinking and Indicators
Andrew Jones from the Sustainability Institute will present their latest approach to facilitated systems mapping, one that helps intact teams explore indicators, feedback, and mindsets as they improve their strategy for changing the world. It is being offered to the ISIN community in hopes that it will be used, adapted, and improved upon. Included is a brief summary of the presentation. For more information, please see Sustainability Institute and Action to Outcome Mapping.
 
Edward Quevedo 
 
Natural Systems Mapping and Sustainable Business Practices: Converting EMS to SMS
 
Erica Tucker 
 
Building Support for Sustainable Management Systems: Why Do Organizations Need Sustainability Indicators and How are They Using Them?
 
   
5. Additional Breakout Session
 
 
 
Additional Session #1
 

 
Lee Hatcher 
 
Presentations on Community Sustainability Reporting Efforts Around the World
 
Noel Keough 
Monica Pohlmann

 
Sustainable Calgary
 
Bonnie Prochaska 
 
Sustainable Racine: The Impact of Our Choice
 
Sydney Green 
 
Building Sustainability in Greater Orlando
 
Craig Haskins 
 
City of Cape Town State of Environment Report
 
Michael Lunn 
 
Sustainability Projects in Australia
 
   
Additional Session #2
 

 
 Dean Kubani
Kris Prendergast
Allison Quaid

 
Benchmarking Community Sustainability: Identifying Indicator Targets
This session follows the previous session on benchmarking community sustainability. In addition to assessing indicators for communities, do we need to think about desired 'targets' for each indicator? For example, could we set targets for air quality, waste reduction, and other indicators that could be applicable across communities? Would sustainability targets for the community level help to leverage indicator work to a new level of effectiveness? Join this discussion for a dialogue on the promises and pitfalls of selecting community sustainability targets.
 
Additional Session #3
 

 
Peter Hardi 
 
Dashboard for North American Municipalities
An increasing number of American and Canadian municipalities are interested in using indicators to measure progress towards sustainability, better quality of life, and environmental protection. International experience proves that comparing results and displaying them in visually engaging, easy to understand format help local decision makers focus on issues of importance and priority and make better informed decisions for the benefit of their communities. IISD, with the lead of an international experts group has developed a tool, the Dashboard of Sustainability that performs this task. We have several years of experience in applying it as the presentation format of the environmental indicator system of over a hundred Italian municipalities ("Ecosistema urbano", see jrc web-site below). Among the users we envision municipalities, states and provinces and the federal governments. We propose a small pilot project to test the viability of our idea. We expect seven to nine cities to participate. We would agree on the selection of a small initial set of indicators that are supported by commonly available data provided by municipalities. In the next step we would create a master workbook for the data, perform the necessary data validation process, and create a functional beta version of the Dashboard for NA Municipalities. If the pilot is successful, based on the resulting discussions, we could design the continuation of the project on a larger scale, involving all volunteering cities. We would seek financing from participating municipalities and, to a limited extent, by provincial and federal governments. For more information refer to: http://esl.jrc.it/envind/esu_2002.htm and www.iisd.org/cgsdi/intro_dashboard.htm.
 
Steve Mullen 
 
Socially Legitimate Approaches to Defining Community Performance Indicators (CommunityViz and Quest)
Using Economic, Social and Environmental criteria, CommunityViz, a decision support tool, has devised an approach that depicts which parts of the landscape most successfully accomplishes the goal of most efficiently accommodating future growth, while avoiding undesired environmental and social implications. Sustainability indicators and smart growth can all be included as part of the analysis of specific land use patterns. Quest is an innovative computer game that allows audiences to create dynamically future scenarios for their region and to evaluate the consequences of their choices through a wide range of sustainability indicators from air quality to unemployment. QUEST is currently being customized for regions around the globe including the Greater Toronto Area.
 
Additional Session #4
 

 
Chris Paterson
 
Sustainability and Environmental Performance Measurement
The Green Mountain Institute for Environmental Democracy (GMI) has been asked to help with meeting design and session coordination for the 2003 U.S. Environmental Performance Summit. As part of this task,Chris Paterson wi GMI is proposing to include sessions that will explore and develop the linkages between sustainability measurement and environmental performance management. During the Open Space session of the ISIN meeting, we would like to engage ISIN members in a discussion regarding the overall goal of these sessions (i.e., linking sustainability with environmental performance measurement) and to develop specific recommendations for the Environmental Performance Summit Steering Committee.
 
Comments or questions?
Contact contactus at sustainabilityindicators.org
Copyright © 2002,
International Sustainability Indicators Network
Highlights Meeting Sessions Presentations Photos Pre-Meeting Workshops Participants Home