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Weak and strong sustainability indicators and regional environmental resources

Michael Getzner (Department of Economics, University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria )

Environmental Management and Health

ISSN: 0956-6163

Article publication date: 1 August 1999


Weak sustainability indicators often suffer from their unrealistic and inadequate assumption of substitutability between natural capital and man‐made capital. Defining sustainable development in these terms is almost trivial; measurement problems as well as methodological and sociological issues may be considered as major flaws of operationalizing weak sustainability indicators. On the other hand, strong sustainability indicators rely on physical measures. This ecological economics approach concedes that the economy is embedded in matter and energy flows ultimately limited by solar energy input and the Earth’s capability to produce renewable resources and to cope with emissions of all kinds. Drawing on the example of regional environmental resources, ground‐water in Austria, some thoughts on strong regional sustainability indicators are presented.



Getzner, M. (1999), "Weak and strong sustainability indicators and regional environmental resources", Environmental Management and Health, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 170-177.




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