Rating the Sustainability of Nations


Address correspondence to: Kees Zoeteman, Deputy Director-General for the Environment, Ministry for Housing, Spatial Planning & Environment, PO Box 30945, 2500 GX The Hague, The Netherlands; E-mail zoeteman@euronet.nl.


ABSTRACT Comparison of sustainability levels of societies has been difficult, as there is no framework that integrates its three main aspects: environment, economy, and social security. A concept is presented defining five levels of sustainability, characterized by growing awareness of and responsibility for the impacts of our actions in space and time. Examples of indicators comprising an Environmental Index, a Social Index, and an Economic Index are given and an overall sustainability index is tentatively calculated for 24 Nations. Differences in sustainability levels are shown, Sweden being the most and Sierra Leone the least sustainable nation.