Sustainability assessment

A sustainability assessment (SA) serves to gauge the impacts of an initiative or a concrete situation from the standpoint of sustainable development. It is therefore a key tool for implementing sustainable development.


How can we assess whether laws, action plans or projects have in fact been given the right orientation?

A sustainability assessment makes it possible to verify at an early stage whether an initiative is consistent with the goals of sustainable development. This entails systematically recording and transparently laying out the positive and negative impacts that may be expected from the initiative on the dimensions of environment, society and economy, and on the subject areas relating to these three dimensions.

Various evaluation instruments are available at the federal, cantonal and municipal levels for this purpose. 

Sustainability assessments within the federal government

The sustainability assessment guidelines serve as instructions for evaluating federal government initiatives (laws, programmes, strategies, concepts as well as projects) in terms of sustainable development. A tool in Excel-format is available as a resource for relevance analysis and for simple assessments.

Sustainability assessments in cantons and municipalities

Several instruments exist at the cantonal and municipal levels for evaluating initiatives from a sustainable development perspective. The sustainability assessment platform (only in German and French) operated by the Cantonal Sustainable Development Network (CSDN) provides up-to-date information as well as assistance, and promotes information-sharing among users of sustainability assessments.

Sustainability assessment platform operated by the Cantonal Sustainable Development Network (CSDN)


Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE

Maria Stoll

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