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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

E. Marian Scott, Daniela Cocchi and J. Campbell Gemmell

The purpose of this paper is to bring together an overview of the basic definitions and functions that indicators and indices have in sustainability and environmental…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to bring together an overview of the basic definitions and functions that indicators and indices have in sustainability and environmental debates. Indicators and indices are widely and increasingly used within environmental and sustainability debates; they provide “evidence” to demonstrate policy effects; they are used for communication of state and condition and to benchmark performance. However, the statistical basis of many indicators and indices is not well defined; so in one sense, they are simple arithmetic rather than inferential tools. This special issue opens up further debate around the creation and utility of indicators and indices and discusses some of the research challenges, including a sound statistical and inferential framework for indicator development.

Design/methodology/approach

This short paper brings together an overview of the basic definitions and functions that indicators and indices have in sustainability and environmental debates.

Findings

The paper summarises very broadly the rationale for and construction of indicators and indices. It also highlights areas where further work is required to ensure that the indicators are not simply arithmetic summaries but are generalisable.

Originality/value

This paper and the papers of this issue seek to enhance the debate concerning the development of reliable and robust indicators.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 2 August 2013

J. Campbell Gemmell and E. Marian Scott

This paper aims to provide an overview of environmental regulation and recent trends and developments in this area, rooted in the practical regulatory implementation…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an overview of environmental regulation and recent trends and developments in this area, rooted in the practical regulatory implementation activities of EPAs worldwide and drawing connection to sustainability, environmental risks, economics and environmental justice.

Design/methodology/approach

The design and methodology in developing “Better (Environmental) Regulation” is addressed drawn on experiences from different regulatory systems. It addresses the linkages between environment, economy, regulation and sustainability and adopts and develops Sparrow's approach to a focus on tackling harms.

Findings

A range of challenges in policy and practice terms – e.g. economic growth versus sustainability – is described. Arguments against the political economy convention of reducing burdens are made and a spectrum of compliance for regulators is offered, leading to a proposed agenda to help deliver better regulation generally.

Research limitations/implications

A major challenge in arguing for an anti‐burden approach is the lack of a general ecosystem services approach and the dearth of valuation data to validate industry claims, demonstrate the costs of compliance and non‐environment and the value of protection.

Practical implications

The argument is presented that environmental regulation is of fundamental value not only to the environment per se but to tackling climate change and protecting society at large.

Originality/value

Hitherto there has been very little in the literature from a practitioner perspective, analysing and proposing improvements to environmental regulation in practice while preserving and securing environmental and sustainability policy objectives. This paper should support and encourage policy makers and implementers in improving practice.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Yu-Ti Huang, Vânia R. Coelho, Jacob Massoud, Susan Briski, Ana Toepel and Marcia Silva

The purpose of this study was to establish an objective mathematical decision-making procedure to help universities prioritize credits, while using the Sustainability…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to establish an objective mathematical decision-making procedure to help universities prioritize credits, while using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) framework developed by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), when pursuing their sustainability goals in the short-, medium- and long-term. The authors used the assessment data from Dominican University of California (DUofC), as our case study.

Design/methodology/approach

Two criteria, the number of possible points available and overall priority, were developed to classify credits in the STARS version 1.2 framework into six groups from lowest to highest level of difficulty. Two mathematical credit-selecting models based on how many points were available per credit, partial or full amount, were also established to produce short-, medium- and long-term plans.

Findings

Our results show that DUofC can reach the Silver level in three years by working on 25 credits; Gold level in nine years by focusing its efforts in 28 additional credits; and Platinum level in 15 years by improving another 10 credits.

Originality/value

The procedure developed in this study can be applied to other universities and other versions of the STARS framework.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Ralf T. Münnich and Jan Georg Seger

The purpose of this study is to show the importance of adequately considering quality measures within the use of composite indicators (CIs). Policy support often relies on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to show the importance of adequately considering quality measures within the use of composite indicators (CIs). Policy support often relies on high quality indicators. Often, the underlying data of relevant indicators are coming mainly from sample surveys. Obviously, the reliability of the indicators then heavily relies on the sampling design and other quality aspects.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting from the well-known work on sensitivity analysis of indicators, this study integrates the sampling process as an additional source of variability. The methodology is evaluated in a close-to-reality simulation environment using relevant and important surveys with different sampling designs. As an example, this study uses data related to the statistics of income and living conditions (SILC). The study is based on a design-based simulation framework.

Findings

In general, the normalisation method is dominating as source of the total variance of CI. In our study, we show that the sampling process also becomes rather relevant and generally dominates the influence of different weighting methods. We show that in some scenarios approximately 40 per cent of the variability in the sensitivity analysis comes from the sampling process. The quality of ranking derived from CIs then suffers considerably from the sampling design. When using data sources from different quality, e.g. in regional comparisons, one may expect some cases with biased CI values which may become useless for applications.

Research limitations/implications

The impact of sampling heavily depends on the data gathering process. In case of sample data, the sampling designs play an important role. However, the design effect still depends on the variables taken into account and has to be considered carefully.

Practical implications

The findings show the importance of considering the quality framework the European Code of Practice also for CIs. This additional information shall foster to understand possible over- or misinterpretations of CIs, especially when deriving rankings from the indicators. Specialised statistical methods shall be integrated in future research, particularly when focusing on regional indicators.

Originality/value

CIs are often used for policy monitoring. In general, the data gathering process is not considered adequately by end-users. This becomes especially important when being interested in regional indicators. The present paper shows possible implications of the sampling designs on CI outcomes with the focus on comparative studies.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Rutger Hoekstra, Bram Edens, Daan Zult and Harry Wilting

The purpose of this paper is to study reducing the variation of environmental footprint estimates based on multiregional input–output (MRIO) databases. Footprint estimates…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study reducing the variation of environmental footprint estimates based on multiregional input–output (MRIO) databases. Footprint estimates from various MRIO databases sometimes vary significantly. As a result, conclusions about the absolute levels or trends of a footprint may be inconsistent. The sources of these variations are attributable to three phases in the footprint calculations: differences in data preparation, MRIO database construction and footprint calculation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides a literature overview and a breakdown of the computation of footprints based on MRIO database. Based on these insights, strategies that lead to lower variation in footprint estimates are formulated.

Findings

Convergence of footprint estimates require enhanced cooperation amongst academics, among statisticians and between academics and statisticians.

Originality/value

Reducing the variation in footprint estimates is a major challenge. This paper aims to contribute to this convergence in three ways. First, this paper provides the first overview of footprint work at statistical offices, government agencies and international organisations. These are the front-runners that may play a role in cooperating with academics (and other statistical offices) to resolve some of the issues. Second, a detailed analysis of the sources of the variation in estimates is provided. These problems are illustrated using examples from the various MRIO databases and the data of Statistics Netherlands. Third, strategies are discussed that might help reduce variation between footprint estimates.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Jan Dick, Ron Smith, Lindsay Banin and Stefan Reis

The purpose of this paper is to review, from a sustainable management perspective, a range of conceptual frameworks; determine the efficacy and utility of three different…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review, from a sustainable management perspective, a range of conceptual frameworks; determine the efficacy and utility of three different data sources in generating indicators collectively; and consider the utility of a single index of total ecosystem services (TESI). The ecosystem service (ES) concept has been discussed as an important model to aid sustainable land-use management.

Design/methodology/approach

The historical development and the relative merits of sustainable management frameworks which can be implemented in a decision-making context were examined. The efficacy of a single index TESI was examined considering three data sources for 11 contrasting sites within the UK.

Findings

The choice of conceptual framework and data source depends on the specific question and scale being addressed. Publicly available data through the Eurostat route is primarily limited to the assessment of the provisioning services.

Research limitations/implications

Limitation of the study is that both bottom-up and top-down sourcing of data to conduct an ES assessment were considered.

Practical implications

The scale of enquiry when conducting ES assessment to aid sustainable management dictate the most useful data source. If conducting local assessments that give local data is more appropriate while conducting European Union (EU)-wide assessment gives less local precision, it does provide some insight when conducting larger-scale regional assessment which cannot otherwise be achieved.

Originality/value

The various data set analysed in this study all provided insight for sustainable management.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Marina Signore and Donatella Fazio

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the European Framework for Measuring Progress (e-Frame). It is a coordination project funded by the European Commission (EC…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the European Framework for Measuring Progress (e-Frame). It is a coordination project funded by the European Commission (EC) which builds on the latest political directions with particular attention to the priorities identified by the Europe 2020 strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

e-Frame aims at contributing to empower the European debate on “GDP and beyond”, taking a broad approach by looking together on social, economic, environmental and global dimensions. Main general actions are coordinating initiatives of different actors to foster the debate by involving all relevant stakeholders through different communication channels and networking activities; streamlining the stocktaking on what has been reached so far and organizing dissemination events.

Findings

The e-Frame project is largely contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) and beyond debate. Its main outcomes range from thematic achievements to more strategically and politically oriented documents. Particular attention is devoted to the challenges that are emerging from the stocktaking activities carried out within the project and that have been conceptually divided in those pertaining to the official statistical production and those more related to the possible interactions between official and non-official statistics.

Originality/value

e-Frame original features are proposing new ways for delivering information to a wide audience of experts as well as to the society, at large; in defining guidelines for the use of existing well-being indicators by policy-makers; identifying new topics and emerging needs to be put at the center of future research agendas by the EC and by the European Statistical Systems in the area of measuring well-being, societal progress and sustainability.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 19 December 2017

Khaled Saadaoui and Teerooven Soobaroyen

This paper aims to analyse the similarities and differences in the methodologies adopted by corporate social responsibility (CSR) rating agencies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the similarities and differences in the methodologies adopted by corporate social responsibility (CSR) rating agencies.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors gather secondary and primary evidences of practices from selected agencies on the methodologies and criteria they rely upon to assess a firm’s CSR performance.

Findings

The authors find not only evidence of similarities in the methodologies adopted by the CSR rating agencies (e.g. the use of environment, social and governance themes, exclusion criteria, adoption of positive criteria, client/“customised” input, quantification) but also several elements of differences, namely, in terms of the thresholds for exclusion, transparent vs confidential approach, industry-specific ratings and weights for each dimension. Drawing from Sandberg et al.’s (2009) conceptualisations, the authors tentatively argue that this mixed picture may reflect competing organisational pressures to adopt a differentiation approach at the strategic and practical levels whilst recognising, and incorporating, the “globalising” tendencies of the CSR business at the terminological levels.

Social implications

Although these data are based on a relatively small number of agencies, the findings and analysis convey some implications for users of CSR ratings and policymakers, particularly in light of the recent Paris 2016 Agreement on Climate Change and the increased emphasis on the monitoring of social, environmental and governance performance.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the literature by highlighting how key intermediate rating organisations operationalise notions of CSR.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1903

The Standing Committee of the House of Commons on Trade, presided over by LORD E. FITZMAURICE, met again on July 16th and proceeded with the Sale of Adulterated Butter Bill.

Abstract

The Standing Committee of the House of Commons on Trade, presided over by LORD E. FITZMAURICE, met again on July 16th and proceeded with the Sale of Adulterated Butter Bill.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 5 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Book part
Publication date: 11 August 2014

Mona Al-Amin, Robert Weech-Maldonado and Rohit Pradhan

The hospital–physician relationship (HPR) has been the focus of many scholars given the potential impact of this relationship on hospitals’ ability to achieve socially and…

Abstract

Purpose

The hospital–physician relationship (HPR) has been the focus of many scholars given the potential impact of this relationship on hospitals’ ability to achieve socially and organizationally desirable health care outcomes. Hospitals are dominated by professionals and share many commonalities with professional service firms (PSFs). In this chapter, we explore an alternative HPR based on the governance models prevalent in PSFs.

Design/methodology approach

We summarize the issues presented by current HPRs and discuss the governance models dominant in PSFs.

Findings

We identify the non-equity partnership model as a governance archetype for hospitals; this model accounts for both the professional dominance in health care decisions and the increasing demand for higher accountability and efficiency.

Research limitations

There should be careful consideration of existing regulations such as the Stark law and the antikickback statue before the proposed governance model and the compensation structure for physician partners is adopted.

Research implications

While our governance archetype is based on a review of the literature on HPRs and PSFs, further research is needed to test our model.

Practical implications

Given the dominance of not-for-profit (NFP) ownership in the hospital industry, we believe the non-equity partnership model can help align physician incentives with those of the hospital, and strengthen HPRs to meet the demands of the changing health care environment.

Originality/value

This is the first chapter to explore an alternative hospital–physician integration strategy by examining the governance models in PSFs, which similar to hospitals have a high reliance on a predominantly professional staff.

Details

Annual Review of Health Care Management: Revisiting The Evolution of Health Systems Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-715-3

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