Rethinking Sustainability Assessment: Incorporating the Ethical Dimension into Decision-Making
Human development continues to degrade ecosystems on a global scale. Such challenge calls for more informed decision-making in all fields of human activities so that each of our undertakings can be planned and designed for a more sustainable and equitable future. Sustainability assessment (SA), in its simplest form, is a tool that bridges evidence and decision-making. This study proposes to investigate the wholeness of SA from the perspective of behavioral decision-making theories, which can be classified into quantitative and qualitative approaches. Assessment and predictions in quantitative terms have their own merits; yet, in a world of emerging technologies and changing paradigms, we can no longer rely purely on mathematical representations of the decision to be made. SA currently in place often fails to give fair consideration to qualitative factors of more inherent nature, namely, the ethical issues relevant for sustainability. This study will elaborate the logics and the need of incorporating the ethical dimension into decision-making toward sustainability.
KeywordsSustainability assessment Decision-making Human-environment relationship Environmental ethics
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