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Falck W.E.,University of Versailles | Spangenberg J.H.,Helmholtz Center for Environment Research | Spangenberg J.H.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Germany
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2014

Achieving the social license to operate is a key condition for successfully establishing and running a mining project. The social license requires trust between the different actors, and trust requires knowledge. Based on the supposition that knowledge on complex scientific, technical and socioeconomic issues can best be framed and communicated in form of indicators, the paper sets out to describe a practical process of indicator development and testing. The objective was to arrive at a stakeholder-need, rather than expert-judgement driven process for indicator development and for the selection of techniques to support these indicators. These processes were developed and tested in the framework of the European Commission project EOMiners. Results from deploying the process at three demonstration sites in the Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan and South Africa are presented. These experiences provide the basis for discussing the practical constraints such processes face. The paper describes the necessary qualities of such indicators: those derived by the methodology described (see supplement) confirm to these criteria. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Seppelt R.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Seppelt R.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Fath B.,Towson University | Fath B.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis | And 10 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

Ecosystem service assessments (ESA) hold the promise of supporting the quantification and valuation of human appropriation of nature and its goods and services. The concept has taken flight with the number of studies published on the topic increasing rapidly. This development, and the variation of diverging approaches, support innovative ideas and may lead to complementary insights from various perspectives. However, at the same time this slows scientific synthesis through increasing uncertainty with respect to the appropriate methodologies to be used to support solving environmental management problems. We analyzed ESA and the underlying concepts based on the variety of available publications and reviews, which revealed a number of different methods, uncertain reliability and robustness. In order to facilitate comparison, evaluation and synthesis of ecosystem service assessments we propose a blueprint for reporting studies in a structured way. By exemplifying this with worked examples, we argue that the use of such a blueprint will (i) assist in achieving improved communication and collaboration in transdisciplinary teams; (ii) reveal methodological aspects, important for the interpretation of results; (iii) support robustness and reliability of assessments; (iv) aid in structuring assessment studies and monitoring programs; (v) provide a base for comparing and synthesizing results of different studies (e.g. in meta-analysis), and thus (vi) provide a base for further implementation of ESA. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Spangenberg J.H.,Helmholtz Center for Environment Research | Spangenberg J.H.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Germany
BioRisk | Year: 2014

The anthropocene is the age where human influences are determining the development of the planet's ecosystems and thus the bio-physical basis of future human civilisations. Today China has become the world's largest economy and its worst polluter with per capita greenhouse gas emissions surpassing the EU average, the world's largest consumer of all kinds of resources. Even regarding the aggregate contribution to climate change (historical emission residues included), called the climate debt, China has not yet, but will be most probably climbing the top position rather soon. At the same time China is the world's largest victim of environmental change, including air and soil pollution, water and land scarcity, biodiversity loss and climate change. Thus not only slowing down the increase but reducing emissions should be a top priority for China, and it is: the government has taken some bold steps. China is the world's largest investor in renewable energies, has the largest afforestation program, and leads the world in reducing carbon dioxide emission reduction. As the largest polluter it has extraordinary opportunities to improve the global state of the environment - is it the world's last best hope for establishing a global ecological civilisation? Some implications regarding the Chinese environmental policy are discussed, some strengths highlighted and some weaknesses identified. However, despite their magnitude, the efforts-and in particular their implementation-are not yet sufficient. We suggest three additional steps which could help China to begin reducing its climate debt within a couple of decades, define a long term perspective for policy planning and adjust its growth model to the challenges of the anthropocene. © J.H. Spangenberg. Source

Spangenberg J.H.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Spangenberg J.H.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Germany
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2016

Sustainable development is one of the dominant societal and political discourses around the world now, and the Human Development Index HDI has become an important issue of debate in many countries but so far there is a lack of perspective regarding the impact of the HDI issues on corporate management, and vice versa. The paper suggests a transparent, easy-to-communicate supplement to the existing, often complex and data-heavy corporate CSR management and reporting tools by borrowing from a macro level concept: the Human Development Index HDI.We derive the CHDI by projecting the criteria and categories of UNDP's HDI to the company level, using in addition the capital stock approach and the discourse on the future of labour. Its basic components are (1) longevity and industrial relations, (2) education, knowledge and skills, and (3) the standard of living and distributional justice.As a management tool, the CHDI focusses attention on the social and human capital of a company by monitoring main factors contributing to their slow erosion which is often recognised too late in day-to-day management.Integrating the CHDI into corporate management and target setting is this a contribution to risk management by extending stakeholder management to one key group, the corporate staff. Regarding reporting, the CHDI enhances transparency and credibility, is independent of size, sector and location of a company and can be used for social sustainability/human development rankings. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Spangenberg J.H.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Spangenberg J.H.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Germany | Settele J.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research
Ecological Complexity | Year: 2010

Environmental scientists employ political and economic arguments to argue for the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem services. However, the economic terminology has a number of connotations which makes its usefulness for the intended effect questionable.On the one hand, the basic assumptions underlying economic valuation are far from realistic and represent rather a caricature of human behaviour. On the other hand, the methods based on these assumptions are manifold and lead to wildly diverging results. Thus the calculated value of ecosystems and their services is not a robust figure, but varies with the valuation method applied (plus a plethora of subjective assumptions). As a result, it is not possible to 'objectively' calculate the value of ecosystem services. Fortunately, it is also not necessary to do so. Given the inherent flaws of the valuation process, it seems more promising for biodiversity and its conservation to restrict the economic calculus to the role of a contribution in the implementation process for a set of politically defined targets, rather than using it as the target setting mechanism itself.The paper lists some of the core assumptions, presents a systematic overview of the most relevant valuation methods, illustrates them by providing examples and discusses their limitations. As an alternative, political target setting is suggested, based on a multi-stakeholder, multi-criteria analysis. Market prices play a role in this analysis, as one factor amongst others. For the implementation, cost-effectiveness analysis gives important hints, and economic instruments - inter alia - can play an important role as enforcement mechanisms. However, incentives should be based on criteria of (potential) effectiveness, not on value calculations. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

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