Assessing Sustainability

Sustainability assessments (SA) are intended to ensure that the principles of sustainable development are factored into projects and political decisions.

Sustainability assessments are dynamic processes that are aimed at incorporating environmental, social and economic aspects into laws, action plans and public projects at both national and local levels. They are always processes of learning.

Yet how can we say for certain whether or not we really are moving in the right direction? A range of different assessment tools has been developed in Switzerland and internationally in recent years. These are available today for use by public sector institutions. The federal government and some cantons and municipalities have already introduced the corresponding rules and regulations in their administrations. They are now evaluating whether or not their projects can be reconciled with sustainable development objectives.

Assessing sustainability within the federal government

According to the "Sustainable Development Strategy: Guidelines and Action Plan", the measures of the action plan must be subjected to a sustainability assessment to find out how they comply with the principles of sustainable development. It is also recommended for other major government initiatives.

Assessing cantonal and municipal projects

Promoting sustainable development requires targeted policies and suitable methods for assessing and improving the action that has been taken.