Indicators Sustainable Development | What are the Indicators of Sustainable Development?

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There are many definitions of sustainable development. But the most important and accepted definition was given by the Brundland Report. So friends, in today’s article we are going to know about the Indicators Sustainable Development (What are the Indicators of Sustainable Development?). So let’s discuss in details.

It defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generation. Sustainable development means that development should “keep going”.

Indicators of Sustainable Development

In order to capture all aspects of ecological and environmental changes, three types of indicators of sustainable development can be suggested. They are given below-

• Pressure Indicators of Sustainable development – Pressure indicators refers to flow variables. They show the development overtime of amounts or levels of emissions, discharges dispositions, extractions and interventions originating from a set of economic activities.

These indicators express the burden placed on stocks of environmental goods and resources. They can be defined by economic activity. As for example – Use of ground water by a district or region. In other words, the pressure indicators show the effects of environmental degradation.

• Impact Indicators of Sustainable Development – Impact indicators reflect the impact of environmental degradation. As for example – Use of ground water by a district or a region may create water crisis in that region in the near future. Similarly, excessive cutting down of trees in a locality may create the problem of deforestation.

• Sustainability Indicators of Sustainable Development – Both pressure and impact indicators can be transformed into so called sustainability indicators. These indicators contain normative valuations of three aspects. They are as follows –

(i) The sustainability indicators set a balance between present and future needs. In other words, it is a bridge between two different types of uses present vs future uses.

(ii) Another important element of sustainable indicators is to determine a safe limit of the use of environmental resources.

(iii) Again, another important aspect of these indicators is to provide adequate information on an environmental system as a whole.

The sustainable development is closely linked to economic development. It is a situation in which economic development does not decrease over time. Sustainable development is the development which contributes to the quality of life through improvement in natural environment.

Therefore, in order to assess any economic planning or development programs, the government should take into consideration the indicators of sustainable development.

Weak and Strong Sustainability

In economics there are three types of capital, they are Human capital, Man-made capital and natural capital. On the basis of these three types of capital we get two types of sustainability.

• Weak Sustainability – It implies that the total capital should not decline. The three form of capital are substitutable for each other.

• Strong Sustainability – It maintains that sustainable development requires to keep the stock of natural capital intact. In other words, natural capital is not substitutable by other forms of capitals.

As for example of strong sustainability – Any decrease in the natural capital can not be substitute by the increase in human and man-made capital.

Weak VS Strong Sustainability

The main difference between weak and strong sustainability are given below –

• The weak order sustainable development considers three types of capitals are substitutable to each other. But strong order sustainable development does not consider perfect substitutability of the three forms of capital.

• The weak order sustainable development is a narrow concept, but strong order sustainable development is a wider concept.

• The weak order sustainability is very rare concept whereas strong order is a reality.

• The weak order sustainability does not reflect the true sustainable development whereas strong order gives a clear picture regarding sustainable growth pattern.


So friends, this was the concept of Indicators of Sustainable Development. Hope you get the full details about it and hope you like this article.

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