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Sustainable Development and its Indicators

General data

Course ID: 2400-DEU2SDI Erasmus code / ISCED: 14.3 / (0311) Economics
Course title: Sustainable Development and its Indicators Name in Polish: Sustainable Development and its Indicators
Department: Faculty of Economic Sciences
Course groups: English-language course offering of the Faculty of Economics
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

optional courses

Short description:

The main objective of this course is to clarify and to specify the idea of sustainability and then how to define and how to measure sustainable developoment. Starting from ecological foundation, through renewable and non-renewable resources management, up to economic valuation of environmental goods and services, the course approaches the problem of sustainability guidelines for the policy and day-to-day practice. The core element of the course is comprehensive presentation and typology of diverse sustainability indicators: aggregated, cross-cutting, for local communities. In particular, aggregated, macroeconomic and single-number indicators are discussed to monitor the sustainable development progress. Additionally, country specific and EU sets of cross-cutting indicators and indicators for local communities are briefly discussed.

The course ends with a written work which will be a critical essay on sustainability measurement and monitoring.

Full description:

Course outline:

1. Basic ecology:

- crucial terms,

- ecosystem,

- biosphere,

- material flows and energy.

2. Ecosystem properties:

- ecological factors,

- succession and climax,

- homeostasis,

- trophic chains,

- circulation of materia,

- energy in ecosystem,

- optimal circumstances,

- ecological barriers.

3. Biosphere as a system:

- energy,

- entropy,

- biogeophysical cycles,

- evolution and adaptation.

4. Environmental impact:

- conflict between economy and nature,

- environmental degradation,

- environmental pressure,

- limits of growth.

5. Natural resources:

- non-exhaustible and exhaustible resources,

- renewable and non-renewable resources,

- ecological services,

- physical planning.

6.Natural resources management:

- sustinability principle,

- maximum sustainable yield,

- Hotelling's rule,

- future generations,

- dynamics of exploatation.

7. Economic valuation:

- environment in economic terms,

- total economic value,

- declared and revealed preferences,

- expanded CBA.

8. Theory of sustainable development:

- man-made, social and natural capital,

- problem of substitution,

- sustainability of renewable resources,

- substitution of non-renewable resources,

- weak and sensitive sustianbility,

- strong and restrictive sustainability.

9. International forum:

- population and economic bomb,

- problem of welfare,

- Stockholm Conference (1972),

- "World Conservation Strategy" (1980),

- "World Commission on Environment and Development"(1983),

- "Our Common Future" - Brundtland Report (1987),

- "Agenda 21" - Rio de Janeiro (1992).

10. Institutions for sustainable development:

- UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD),

- UN Development Programme (UNDP)

- UN Environment Programme (UNEP),

- World Bank and Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

11. Potential guidelines:

- change in consumption patterns,

- raise in economic efficiency,

- financing substitution,

- environmental pressure under control,

- pricing and application of economic instruments.

12. Some paradigms for the future:

- "adaptive management" (Costanza, Holling),

- "veil of ignorance towards time" (Rawles),

- "intergenerational equity" (Page),

- "transferable development rights" (Panayotou).

13. Sustainability indicators:

- pressure-state-reaction concept,

- exemplary indicators of OECD and UN CSD,

- system of indicators for EU,

- indicators for UK and Norway,

- local communities' indicators.

14/15. Aggregated sustainability indicators:

- modified GDP,

- "Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare",

- "Genuine Savings",

- "Genuine Progress Indicator",

- "Total Material Requirement",

- "Ecological Footprint".




Bell S., Morse S., Sustainability indicators. Measuring the immeasurable, Earthscan, London, 2000.

Lawn Ph., Sustainable development indicators in ecological economics. Edward-Elgar, Cheltenham, 2007.

Pearce D., Blueprint 3. Measuring sustainable development. Earthscan, London, 1993.

von Weizsacker E., Lovins A.B., Lovins L.H., Factor Four. Doubling wealth, halving resource use, Earthscan, London, 1998.


Atkinson G., Dietz S., Neumayer E., 2006. Handbook of Sustainable Development. Edward-Elgar, Cheltenham.

Bell S., Morse S., Measuring sustainability. Learning from doing, Earthscan, London, 2003.

Gil S., Sleszynski J., An Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare for Poland. Sustainable Development, Volume 11, Number 2, 2003, (47-55).

Kiuila O., Sleszynski J., Expected effects of the ecological tax reform for the Polish economy. Ecological Economics, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2003, (103-120).

Schütz H., Welfens M.J., Sleszynski J., Stodulski W., Sustainable Development through Dematerialization: The Case of Poland. Osteuropa-Wirtschaft, 47. Jhg., Nr. 2/2002, (173-199).

Sleszynski J., Some remarks on operational sustainability indicators for Poland. Chapter in: The 1997 European Environment Conference. Environmental Policy in Europe: Towards Sustainability? Conference Proceedings. University of Leeds - ERP Environment, Shipley, 1997, (183-188).

Sleszynski J., Synthetic sustainability indicators: estimates for Poland. Chapter in: Trebicky V., Novak J. (eds.), Visegrad Agenda 21 - Transition from Centrally Planned Economy to Sustainable Society? Conference Proceedings. Institute for Environmental Policy, Praha, 2002, (100-106).

Sleszynski J., Stachowiak M., How big is "Ecological Footprint" of the Polish economy? Ekonomia, nr 8, 2003, (88-101).

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
Copyright by University of Warsaw.