Sustainable Society Foundation Index 2010

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Sustainable Society Index - the compass to sustainability

The earth offers enough for everyone's need, not for everyone's greed – Mahatma Gandhi

About SSF

With the objective of stimulating and assisting societies in their development towards sustainability, the Sustainable Society Foundation – SSF – has been established in 2006 as a private initiative by Geurt van de Kerk and Arthur Manuel. The main objective remains to further develop the Sustainable Society Index – SSI – and to publish and disseminate the results every two years. The SSI has been developed for 151 countries on national level. Nowadays the SSI has been implemented on regional level as well. We are working on the development of the SSI on local level.

Furthermore, SSF is involved in various fields of promoting sustainability: development and implementation of projects aiming at development towards sustainability, research projects, lectures and contribution to sustainability courses and support of students.

The SSF has an extensive world-wide network of experts who support and contribute to the work of SSF, as well with respect to methodological aspects as to the various elements of sustainability.

Sustainable Society Foundation
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Click on the following items for more information about the SSF

Sustainability

Sustainability, sustainable development, development towards sustainability… what do all these notions mean? To make a start with answering this question, you will find here a brief introduction into these issues.

An easy way to become familiar with the various aspects of sustainability is to make a tour: the Sustainability Tour. This tour shows the highlights of sustainability. The tour itself will not take more than 15 minutes, excluding the stops where you can drop off and have a closer look on the items which have your special interest.

Take a free ride.

Sustainability tour

You may join the Sustainability Tour in five stages.

Stage 1: About sustainability

Stage 2: Actual level of sustainability

Stage 3: Measurement

Stage 4: Development towards sustainability

Stage 5: Using the SSI

Print the Sustainability tour PDF

Sustainability tour – Stage 1


Sustainability, development towards sustainability and progress of societies

Hi everyone! Welcome to this sustainability tour. My name is Peter. Today I will be your guide on this tour. I will show you some of the most interesting items about sustainability. This tour takes about 15 minutes. However, you can drop off at any stop you wish and have a closer look at the items you are interested in. When you are done,  just jump back on the bus and continue the tour. It is up to you how much time you wish to spend at each stop.

OK, here we go. Everything I’m going to show you today has to do with sustainability. To be more precise, with sustainable development. Do you know what sustainable development means?

Of course, I do. Sustainability has to do with the rapid depletion of our natural resources.

For me, there is just one big problem and that is climate change.

That’s right, but what do you think of how we are exploiting our one and only planet? Not only causing the depletion of resources, as he said, but maybe even worse, the destruction of nature, the deforestation, worldwide cutting the forests at an unbelievable speed of 26 ha every minute, the loss of biodiversity, the irreversible degradation of agricultural land, while we have to feed over 9 billion people in just a few decades?

For me sustainability ultimately has to do with human beings. How can we ever achieve a sustainable world, while over 20% of the world population lives in extreme poverty and lacks even the basic needs? Do you think that is fair, that that is sustainable?

Well, those are all good points. Thank you. In fact, there are hundreds of definitions of sustainability and sustainable development. The most well-known definition is the one the Brundtland Commission put forward in 1987 over twenty years ago. It says:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Don’t you think that’s clear enough? I would say so. Nevertheless, even this clear definition has been interpreted in some 200 ways, which shows how clever humans are.

If we want to ensure that humans can continue to live on planet earth for many many more generations, all elements of wellbeing must be taken care of: Human Wellbeing, Environmental Wellbeing and Economic Wellbeing.

That sounds reasonable, Peter. But please, can you explain why this is?

I’d be happy to. Human Wellbeing without Environmental Wellbeing is pointless. It is a dead end. Mankind would not be able to survive very long. And Environmental Wellbeing without Human Wellbeing makes no sense, at least not from an anthropocentric point of view.

And what about Economic Wellbeing, Peter?

Economic Wellbeing is not a goal in itself. Why should it be? However, Economic Wellbeing is necessary to help everyone to make progress towards the ultimate goal of full sustainability. So all three dimensions of wellbeing have to be considered.

To avoid any misunderstanding and to make it very clear that we are talking about both Human Wellbeing and Environmental Wellbeing when talking about sustainability and sustainable development, the Brundtland definition could be extended with a third sentence, so it runs as follows:

A sustainable society is a society

  • that meets the needs of the present generation,
  • that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,
  • in which each human being has the opportunity to develop itself in freedom, within a well-balanced society and in harmony with the environment.

Don’t worry, this will not be definition 201. It is just an extension of the best definition ever.

Sustainability a fad?

Though I certainly recognize the importance of sustainability, every now and then I have the feeling that sustainability is not much more than just a fad. What do you think, Peter?

My answer to your question is definitely NO, it isn’t. Look around. How many sustainable situations do you see? Not many, I’m afraid. But that’s not because it hasn’t been given any attention. In fact, it has been touched on in many international agreements and treaties, even if only implicitly. Think of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, agreed upon in 1948, which ensures all people without any exception, the right for many basic needs. Or of the Convention on Biodiversity of 1992. Or of the Millennium Development Goals, agreed upon in 1998. Many, many countries have signed and ratified these treaties, so they are legally binding. That creates obligations. Thus sustainability is not just a fad, it is something to take seriously. Once I met a politician who said: “Sustainability will be the guide as well as the touchstone for our policy.” I wish there would be more politicians like her.

Sustainability tour – Stage 2


Actual level of sustainability

Now I presume all of us agree that sustainability is not just a fad or something for unworldly people.

Thank you for clarifying this point, Peter. I am from Australia and want to know how far my country has gotten on the road to sustainability. And I would also like to know how sustainable the whole world is.

Good question. To answer your question, we have to measure the level of sustainability of your country. That requires a good measurement tool. When you type ‘sustainability index’ in Google and ask for the exact combination of words, you get 263,000 hits in 0.20 seconds. If you just search for any combination of the two words, you will receive 2,480,000 hits in only 0.06 seconds. So, this does not really help.

When you search the web in more detail, as well as relevant literature, there appear to be quite a number of relevant indexes that have to do with sustainability in one way or another. However, many of these only include partial aspects of sustainability. The best one that covers all main aspects of sustainability used to be the Wellbeing of Nations, published in 2001. Alas, it has not been updated since then. So that doesn’t help you any further. Fortunately, a new index was published in 2006 – a simple and transparent one, understandable for everyone. It is called the Sustainable Society Index, SSI. The SSI shows at a glance the level of sustainability of 151 countries, comprising 99.2% of the world’s population in 2010.

Sorry for interrupting you, Peter, but it looks like you are the man behind the SSI.

Oh no, don’t blame me, though I do happen to know these people, so I am more or less familiar with the SSI. As I said, the SSI was published in 2006 and two years later the first update was released, SSI-2008. Using the many comments and suggestions that were received as well as recent developments in ‘sustainability knowledge’, a thorough evaluation of the original setup of the SSI has been made. This resulted in a new framework, explicitly comprising the three elements of wellbeing (Human, Environmental and Economic Wellbeing). The SSI now comprises 24 indicators, clustered into 8 categories, 3 wellbeing dimensions and finally, one overall index.

Framework of the Sustainable Society Index

In December 2010 the second of the biennial updates, the SSI-2010, was published, based on the redesigned framework. The previous editions, SSI-2006 and SSI-2008 have been recalculated using the same framework in order to enable comparisons over time.

Very interesting Peter, but you still owe me the answer to my question of how sustainable my country is.

You’re right. Let’s see, here I have the results of the SSI-2010. You said you are Australian? Well. the overall score of your country is 6.2, on a scale of 0 to 10. That is slightly higher than the world’s average score, which is 5.9.

I am glad to hear so. We’re not doing bad in Australia.

Comparatively speaking, you are right. But I have to limit your enthusiasm a bit. Australia is ranked 49 out of the 151 countries included in the SSI, one place above the United States of America. Moreover, be aware that a score of 6.2 is way below full sustainability; 38% below to be precise. Full sustainability requires a score of 10.

There is another thing I want to emphasize. An overall score shows you, at a quick glance, the actual level of sustainability. But it is an average of the scores of the underlying indicators. Thus it levels out the extremes to some extent. It is important to see how each indicator is doing. Well, that might be something to have a closer look at when you are back home. And remember, full sustainability requires a score of 10, thus a score of 10 for each of the 24 indicators. So always take a look at the underlying figures.

And if you do so for Australia?

The score for Human Wellbeing is rather high: 8.3, compared to the world average score of 6.7. But the score for Environmental Wellbeing is very low, no more than 4.5, way below the world average of 6.1. On the other hand, on Economic Wellbeing, Australia is – not surprisingly – doing better than the world average: 5.7 versus 4.6. And since I am not here just to make friends, it must be said that a score of 5.7 is way below full sustainability, as we have learned just now.

Sustainability tour – Stage 3


An easy measurement tool

I have another question, Peter. You were saying the SSI shows at a glance the level of sustainability of each country. And the underlying figures? Can you also show those at a glance?

Of course. Look here. You see this spider web:

Spiderweb SSI 2010 Australia

The color in the spider web shows the scores for each of the 24 indicators for Australia. The outer circle represents full sustainability, the centre of the web means no sustainability at all. Now you can see for yourselves that the indicators for Human Wellbeing, numbers 1 to 9, score relatively high; that indicators 10 to 18, Environmental Wellbeing, score very low; and that the indicators for Economic Wellbeing, 19 to 24, show very varying scores. Overall, I would say there is room for improvement, to express it in a positive way.

I presume the 24 indicators in the spider web are the same 24 you showed us in the framework of the SSI. How can I learn more about each indicator?

That’s easy enough. Detailed descriptions and explanations of each indicator are available. See for yourself. And if you wish to see all data, you can decide to drop off at the bus stop Data.

That is really interesting. But what if I want to know more about another country, say for example Mexico?

You can go to Maps and study all information about any country at your leisure, including Mexico. And don’t forget to play with all available information, as much as you wish.

Sustainability tour – Stage 4


Development towards sustainability

Wonderful, Peter. If we stick to the example of Australia, you say there is plenty of room for improvement. And you have shown it quite convincingly. But who cares? All I hear when talking about sustainability is: Don’t worry, they will find good solutions in time.

Yes, and that is exactly the attitude that worries me. Not too many people are concerned about this very important issue. Today, the common opinion is that certainly there are problems to be solved with respect to sustainability. However, most are quite sure that ‘they’ will find adequate solutions in time, like ‘they’ have always done. But most never say who ‘they’ are and how ‘they’ are going to do this. That is a very comfortable attitude, since it keeps you from taking full responsibility yourself.

However – there always seems to be a however – is it realistic to tell yourself that technological solutions will be found for the unbelievable rate of deforestation? Or for the on-going loss of biodiversity? Or for the rapid depletion of natural resources, among these our beloved fossil fuels? I would definitely say no, that is quite unrealistic. Thus we shouldn’t only rely on technological solutions. We have to take action ourselves.

I completely agree with you. But what does it help if I do something, while my neighbour doesn’t? It will be just a tiny little drop in the ocean. So why should I bother?

Well, whenever I hear this excuse, I remember what Mahatma Gandhi said regarding this: Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.

OK, OK. And what will happen when emerging countries, most of all China and India with about one third of the world population, achieve the same level of wealth and consumption as rich countries have nowadays? That would be disastrous, so why bother? Nothing can be done to stop this unavoidable development. So let’s be happy and not worry about things that will happen anyway.

Are you sure that an increase of Human Wellbeing unavoidably results in a decrease of Environmental Wellbeing? That would mean we will never be able to achieve a sustainable world. That is a rather uninviting prospect.

I invite you to have a look yourself. When you look at the SSI data, you can study the correlations between the wellbeing dimensions. I did this. My – very preliminary – conclusion is that it seems to be mainly a matter of policy whether Human Wellbeing and Environmental Wellbeing are on a collision course. If this conclusion stands after further research, it will be up to us to urge our politicians to make the right policy choices in order to achieve a sustainable world.  On short notice.

The idea that it is up to us is quite frightening, Peter.

Sure it is. But it is also reassuring. We don’t have to be fatalistic, just waiting for things to come. You and me, we can make the change. It is an opportunity that all of us should seize this very day.

So what are we supposed to do now?

I see two main tracks: the first one is to convince our politicians that a change of the actual policy is necessary. Immediately. In general, policy measures and implementation plans must be directed to development towards sustainability. Our contribution to this change is to put pressure on our politicians.

The second track is what we can do in our daily life, alone or together with others. There is a wide range of opportunities in this respect. When you are back home, start your computer and search for ‘sustainability action’. You receive 42 million hits in 0.24 seconds. Some are rather high brow, many are very down to earth, ready for immediate implementation.

Sustainability tour – Stage 5


Using the SSI

I’m afraid the tour took a bit more than just 15 minutes. Nevertheless, I really appreciated it, Peter. You have been a wonderful guide. If I am permitted, I have just one more question. What can you do with the SSI? Or what can we do with it?

Just speaking for myself, I use the SSI as an interesting source of information and inspiration, as far as sustainability is concerned. If I want to know something about a particular country, or a region or whatever, I have a look at the SSI data. Or if I want to know how rich countries are performing, compared to poor countries, I can retrieve that information from the data. And since already three editions of the SSI are available, you can start making comparisons over time. Have a look at the previous editions of the SSI, if you wish to see the developments over time. Just a sideline: Australia’s score is in decline. In 2006 the overall SSI-score was 6.4, in 2008 it was 6.3 and in 2010 it went further down to 6.2.

Others may use the SSI in quite a different way, depending on their role and position in society, and of course depending on their interest, time and ambitions. If you are a politician, you will use the SSI in a different way than if you are a scientist or a student or an interested citizen like me, or a business woman or man. Read more.

Well, this is our last stop. We all have to exit the bus. I hope you have enjoyed the tour. I thank you very much for your interest and for your good questions. You have been an excellent group.

And should you have any further question, please send an email to the Sustainable Society Foundation.

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Notes and definitions

Notion of sustainability

For many people, the basic idea of sustainability focuses greatly on depletion of resources. Others consider that sustainability covers also (irreversible) pollution, conservation of nature and other environmental and ecological aspects. Some include the aspects of quality of human life, the human wellbeing.

Over the past thirty years hundreds of definitions of sustainability and sustainable development have been made. Many of these have one major item in common: to survive – for human beings – in  the long run.

Though definitions may differ in scope, it is now widely accepted that sustainability comprises all three elements mentioned above. Thus sustainability is about

  • us, human beings → Human Wellbeing
  • the environment, the ecosystem in which we live  Environmental Wellbeing
  • the economy, which enables us to do what we do  Economic Wellbeing

Some people make a further distinction between individuals and the society in which they live, often described as Human wellbeing and Social wellbeing.

The three core values Human, Environment and Economic Wellbeing are interrelated. They are not independent. On the contrary, they are very much interdependent. There are large trade-offs between all three values.

Some people purport that to achieve sustainability, it is enough that the total value of the actual Human, Environment and Economic Wellbeing will at least stay even. Thus trade-offs between the three are accepted, as long as the total sum is not in decline. This approach is called weak sustainability, in contrast to strong sustainability. Others, including the SSF, emphasize there is no weak or strong sustainability, there is just sustainability. Trade-offs between the three elements cannot be accepted. Sustainability can only be achieved when all three elements have achieved the sustainability level.

Not all three values are equal. Human Wellbeing and Environmental Wellbeing are goals to be achieved. Economic Wellbeing is a mean to be able to achieve sustainability and to maintain so over time. Thus we might picture sustainability as follows:

Sustainability

If we digest the concept of sustainability we will realize that sustainability bears in it some basic principles:

  1. inter-generational equity, solidarity between all people living today.
  2. intra-generational equity, leaving next generations not empty-handed by the depletion of resources and spoiling the environment.
  3. ecological limits, living within the carrying capacity of the earth.
  4. precautionary principle, that is that in case of insufficient information, it is better to err on the side of caution, then to run the risk of irreversible decline.

That means that sustainability is not just a fashionable or ideological issue. Sustainability affects all of us and thus requires proper action of all of us.

Definitions of sustainability

Just a few definitions have been listed here, in chronological order.

The sustainable society is one that lives within the self-perpetuating limits of its environment. That society is not a “no growth” society.  It is rather, a society that recognizes the limits of growth [and] looks for alternative ways of growing. (Coomer, 1979)
—–
Sustainable development – development that is likely to achieve lasting satisfaction of human needs and improvement of the quality of human life. (Allen, 1980)
—–
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (Brundtland Commission, 1987)
—–
Sustainable development – economic development that can continue indefinitely because it is based on the exploitation of renewable resources and causes insufficient environmental damage for this to pose an eventual limit. (Allaby, 1988)
—–
The basic idea [of sustainable development] is simple in the context of natural resources (excluding exhaustibles) and environments: the use made of these inputs to the development process should be sustainable through time.  If we now apply the idea to resources, sustainability ought to mean that a given stock of resources – trees, soil quality, water, and so on – should not decline. (Markandya and Pearce, 1988)
—–
The indefinite survival of the human species (with a quality of life beyond mere biological survival) through the maintenance of basic life support systems (air, water, land, biota) and the existence of infrastructure and institutions which distribute and protect the components of these systems. (Liverman et al., 1988)
——–
The sustainable development concept constitutes a further elaboration of the close links between economic activity and the conservation of environmental resources. It implies a partnership between the environment and the economy, within which a key element is the legacy of environmental resources that is not “unduly” diminished. (OECD, 1990)
—–
Sustainable development: The amount of consumption that can be sustained indefinitely without degrading capital stocks, including natural capital stocks. (Costanza and Wainger, 1991)
—–
Sustainable development means improving the quality of life of humans, while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. (IUCN, UNEP, WWF, 1991)
—–
Sustainable development means basing developmental and environmental policies on a comparison of costs and benefits and on careful economic analysis that will strengthen environmental protection and lead to rising and sustainable levels of welfare. (World Bank, 1992)
—–
Sustainable development means adjusting economic growth to remain within bounds set by natural replenishable systems, subject to the scope for human ingenuity and adaptation via careful husbanding of critical resources and technological advance, coupled to the redistribution of resources and power in a manner that guarantees adequate conditions of liveability for all present and future generations. (O’Riordan and Yaeger, 1994)
—–
A sustainable society implicitly connotes one that is based on a long-term vision in that it must foresee the consequences of its diverse activities to ensure that they do not break the cycles of renewal; it has to be a society of conservation and generational concern. It must avoid the adoption of mutually irreconcilable objectives. Equally, it must be a society of social justice because great disparities of wealth or privilege will breed destructive disharmony. (Hossain, 1995)

(retrieved from various sources, among these a paper by Rob Hounsome and Peter Ashton, CSIR, South Africa)

As a conclusion, we suggest to use the Brundtland definition, the best one ever, extended with a third sentence, to make explicitly clear that sustainability is not only about human beings, nor only about the environment or natural resources, it is about all. So the definition will run as follows:


A sustainable society is a society

  • that meets the needs of the present generation,
  • that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,
  • in which each human being has the opportunity to develop itself in freedom, within a well-balanced society and in harmony with its surroundings.

Further reading, some suggestions:

Coomer, J.  (1979).  The Nature of the Quest for a Sustainable Society.  In: J. Coomer (Ed.), Quest for a Sustainable Society.  Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Hales, D. and Prescott-Allen, R., 2002. Flying Blind: Assessing Progress toward Sustainability. In: Esty, D.C. and Ivanova, M.H. (eds), Global environmental governance: options and opportunities. Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

IUCN/UNEP/WWF, 1991. Caring for the Earth: A strategy for Sustainable Living. IUCN/UNEP/WWF, Gland, Switzerland.

Liverman, D.M. and Hanson, M.E., Brown, B.J. and Merideth Jr, R.W., 1988. Global Sustainability: Toward measurement. Environmental Management 12 (1988) (2), pp 133-143.

Meadows, D.H. and Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. Behrens, W.W., 1972. The limits to Growth, Universe Books, New York.

Mebratu, D., 1998. Sustainability and sustainable development: Historical and conceptual review.Environmental Impact Assessment Review 18 (6)1998, pp 493-520.

Pearce, A.R, not dated. Defining sustainability: a content analysis comparison of definitions from the literature, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Atlanta GA, USA.

Pezzey, J., 1989. Definitions of sustainability. Working Paper No. 9, Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado.

WCED, 1987. Our Common Future, chair: Gro Harlem Brundtland. World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press.

Timeline

Many sets of indicators have been developed over time. Each year new ones come out. One of the oldest, if not the oldest one, is the Gross Domestic Product, GDP. It has been developed around 1937 by Simon Kuznets. Nowadays GDP still is by far the most influential economic indicator. However, its relevance for sustainability is debatable, to say the least of it.

The timeline, presented below, covers the years 1970 – 2010. We have included the main indexes, which are relevant for development towards sustainability. By clicking on the name of the index , you will see a short explanation.

Note: I could not capture the timeline graphic into the wiki page.

SSI

What do you answer if someone asks you: ‘How sustainable is your country?’
To address this frequently asked question, one needs a simple and transparent tool, showing at a glance the level of sustainability of a country. Therefore, we have developed a new set of indicators, the Sustainable Society Index – SSI.

The SSI integrates Human Wellbeing and Environmental Wellbeing. That is the proper way to look at development to a sustainable world. Human and Environmental Wellbeing are the goals we are aiming at. Human Wellbeing without Environmental Wellbeing is a dead end, Environmental Wellbeing without Human Wellbeing makes no sense, at least not for human beings. Economic Wellbeing is not a goal in itself. It is integrated as a condition to achieve Human and Environmental Wellbeing. It can be considered as a safeguard to wellbeing.

The SSI is based on the well-known Brundtland definition, to which we added a third sentence to make explicitly clear that both Human Wellbeing and Environmental Wellbeing are included. It runs as follows:


a sustainable society is a society

 

  • that meets the needs of the present generation,
  • that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,
  • in which each human being has the opportunity to develop itself in freedom, within a well-balanced society and in harmony with its surroundings.

The SSI has been published for the first time in 2006 and is updated every two years. After the first update, SSI-2008, now the new update, SSI-2010 is available

Click on the following subjects for more information

Framework of the SSI
Calculation Methodology
Main results
All data
Interactive maps

Framework

Sustainable Society index

The SSI comprises four levels:

  • 24 indicators
  • 8 categories
  • 3 wellbeing dimensions
  • 1 Overall index SSI

The first two editions of the SSI, in 2006 and 2008, were based on a framework of 22 indicators. In the process of preparing the 2010 update we have thoroughly evaluated the structure of the SSI. (See Evaluation and redesign of the SSI). Note: See Below. This resulted in a new framework, even more balanced and transparent than the previous one.

For more information click on the following items,

Calculation Methodology
Main results
All data
Interactive maps

Evaluation and redesign of the SSI

PDF

 
Excerpts from the PDF File - See Annexes C and D in 2010 Report
Sustainable Society Index, SSI
Evaluation and Redesign
June 2010
 
Summary
In 2006 the Sustainable Society Index, SSI, was launched. The SSI shows at a glance the level of sustainability and the distance to full sustainability of a country. The SSI comprises only 22 indicators and has been calculated for 151 countries. In 2008 the first of biennial updates has been presented.
 
Since the launch of the SSI, we gained valuable experiences with its use and received many suggestions. Also taking into account recent global developments, particularly those stimulated by the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi report, we have evaluated the current SSI, which resulted in a redesign.
The new structure of the SSI, now with 24 indicators, is shown below.
 
Once the work on the 2010 update will be completed, all information will be available for free on our website http://www.sustainablesocietyindex.com. In order to show developments over time, the SSI-2006 and SSI-2008 will be recalculated, based on the new structure of the SSI
 
June, 2010
 
Geurt van de Kerk, geurt@nederlandduurzaam.nl

Calculation Methodology

Reliability of data
The reliability of data is a serious concern. One is inclined to assume published figures to be correct and reliable. However, this is certainly way too optimistic. Particularly when producing time series one is confronted with many irregularities and impossibilities in the data. This problem will decrease over time, since the importance of sound statistical data is now generally recognized. For example, the Stiglitz report also calls for increasing efforts by countries and statistical offices.

Aggregation
Opinions concerning aggregation vary enormously. For some it is an absolute ‘don’t’, others simply do it. In view of the objectives of the SSI – among others to show at a glance the level of sustainability of a country – an aggregation has been made from indicators into categories and from categories into wellbeing dimensions and finally into one single figure for the SSI.
We do realise the objections one may have, one of these being a possible trade-off between the indicators. However, since all 24 indicators must receive a score of 10 (on a scale of 0 to 10) to achieve full sustainability, a trade-off will not be sufficient to achieve full sustainability.
For those who object to aggregation and are only interested in the underlying figures, we present all available data. Thus the user may make its own choice: focus on the overall index or on the underlying figures. Or on both.

Calculation methodology
For lack of a scientific basis for the attribution of different weights to the indicators, every indicator has received the same weight for the aggregation into categories. The same applies for the aggregation into the three wellbeing dimensions. Since there is an inequality among the three dimensions – two comprising three categories and one comprising two categories – the overall index SSI has been calculated directly as the unweighted average of the 24 indicators.
Note that the calculation of world totals is based on the unweighted average of 151 countries. Should one use a calculation based on weighting of population size per country, the results would be different.

Calculation formulas
If you are interested in the formulas used to calculate the indicators, you can have a look at the file you can download here. For each indicator the formula is shown, in which F(X) is the indicator score and X the value of the raw data. In addition the range of validity is indicated.
The graphs show the resulting scores for the 151 countries included in the SSI, visualizing the range of Indicator scores and the range of raw data values.

Download the Calculation Formulas

Main results
All data
Interactive maps
Impact of weighting

Impact of Weighting of Scores

PDF

 
Before calculating an average, e.g. the average score of indicator 12 for 151 countries, one has to consider whether to give all scores an equal weight or to differentiate in the weights. Since the SSI focuses primarily on countries, we have given the score of each country an equal weight, i.e. we have used unweighted scores.
 
However, one may decide to give different weights to the scores. For instance, one may differentiate with respect to the population size of a country, or the population density, or the area of a country, or the total Gross Domestic Product, or…
In the table below, we have presented the impact of weighting the scores by a country’s population size. It appears that there are substantial differences for a number of scores. The impact decreases – of course – for the aggregated values. The more aggregated, the less impact.
 
 
Item Average of 151 countries, unweighted Average of 151 countries, weighted by population size Average minus weighted average
Sufficient Food 8.77 8.70 0.07
Sufficient to Drink 8.62 8.71 -0.09
Safe Sanitation 7.22 6.13 1.09
Healthy Life 6.56 6.66 -0.10
Education Opportunities 7.27 6.98 0.29
Gender Equality 6.73 6.62 0.12
Good Governance 4.81 4.54 0.27
Income Distribution 4.58 4.93 -0.36
Population Growth 5.85 6.03 -0.18
Air Quality (Humans) 6.35 5.43 0.93
Air Quality (Nature) 4.91 4.07 0.84
Surface Water Quality 6.26 6.96 -0.70
Consumption of Renewable Energy 3.18 2.62 0.56
Emission of Greenhouse Gases 5.96 6.19 -0.22
Energy Consumption 8.20 8.54 -0.34
Use of Renewable Water Resources 7.91 7.54 0.37
Forest Area 5.97 7.10 -1.13
Preservation of Biodiversity 5.95 5.88 0.07
Consumption 4.75 5.92 -1.17
Organic Farming 0.66 0.37 0.29
Genuine Savings 6.87 7.91 -1.05
GDP 4.65 4.02 0.63
Employment 4.10 4.57 -0.48
Public Debt 6.56 6.87 -0.31
Basic Needs 8.20 7.85 0.35
Personal Development 6.85 6.75 0.10
Well-balanced Society 5.08 5.17 -0.09
Healthy Environment 5.84 5.48 0.36
Climate & Energy 5.78 5.78 0.00
Natural Resources 6.61 6.84 -0.23
Preparation for the Future 4.09 4.73 -0.64
Economy 5.10 5.16 -0.05
       
Human Wellbeing 6.71 6.59 0.12
Environmental Wellbeing 6.08 6.04 0.04
Economic Wellbeing 4.60 4.94 -0.35
       
SSI 5.94 5.97 -0.03
 
The differences between weighted and unweighted scores are presented in the next graph also.

SSI2010Impast of WeightingScores.png

Sustainable Society Foundation January 2011 http://www.ssfindex.com geurt.vandekerk@ssfindex.com

Calculation Formulas

PDF

Calculation formulas of the Sustainable Society Index, SSI
April 2011
 
SSFLogo.png
Indicator 1
Sufficient Food
Formula: Formula: F(X)=(100-X)/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator1.png
 
Indicator 2
Sufficient to Drink
Formula: Formula: F(X)=X/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator2.png
Indicator 3
Safe Sanitation
Formula: F(X)=X/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator3.png
Indicator 4
Healthy Life
Formula: F(X)=((X-20)/60)*10
Range of validity 20≤X≤80
 
SSIFormulasIndicator4.png
Indicator 5
Education Opportunities
Formula: F(X)=X/10 if 0≤X≤100
F(X)=10 if X>100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator5.png
Indicator 6
Gender Equality
Formula: F(X) = X*10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤1
 
SSIFormulasIndicator6.png
Indicator 7
Good Governance
Formula: F(X)=((X+15)/30)*10
Range of validity: -15≤X≤+15
 
SSIFormulasIndicator7.png
Indicator 8
Income Distribution
Formula: F(X)=exp(-0.1*(X-4.5))*10
Range of validity: 4.5≤X≤168
 
SSIFormulasIndicator8.png
Indicator 9
Population Growth
Formula: F(X)=(1-(X+1.5)/6.5)*10
Range of validity: -1.5≤X≤5
 
SSIFormulasIndicator9.png
Indicator 10
Air Quality (humans)
Formula: F(X)=X/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator10.png
Indicator 11
Air Quality (nature)
Formula: F(X)=X/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator11.png
Indicator 12
Surface Water Quality
Formula: F(X)=X/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator12.png
Indicator 13
Consumption of Renewable Energy
Formula: F(X)=X/10
Range of validity: 0≤X≤100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator13.png
Indicator 14
Emission of Greenhouse Gases
Formula: F(X)=10-X if 0≤X≤10
F(X)=0 if X>10
 
SSIFormulasIndicator14.png
Indicator 15
Energy Consumption
Formula: F(X)=(1-X/12000)*10 if X<12000
F(X)=0 if X≥12000
 
SSIFormulasIndicator15.png
Indicator 16
Use of Renewable Water Resources
Formula: F(X)=(100-X)/10 if 0≤X≤100
F(X)=0 if X>100
 
SSIFormulasIndicator16.png
Indicator 17
Forest Area
Formula:
F(X)=(10*X+7)^2*((-20*X+19)/11)^3*10
if -0.65≤X≤0.4
F(X)=10 if X>0.4
 
SSIFormulasIndicator17.png
Indicator 18
Biodiversity
Threatened species:
Formula: F(X1)=10-0,5*X1 for 0≤X≤20
 
SSIFormulasIndicator18a.png
 
Protected areas:
Formula: F(X2)= 0,5*X2 for 0<X2<20
F(X2)=10 for X2≥20
 
SSIFormulasIndicator18b.png
Indicator 19
Consumption
Formula: F(X)=10-3*X*2/1.8 if 0≤X≤3
F(X)=0 if X>3
 
SSIFormulasIndicator19.png
Indicator 20
Organic Farming
Formula: F(X)=0.5*X
Range of validity: 0≤X≤20
 
SSIFormulasIndicator20.png
Indicator 21
Genuine Savings
Formula: F(X)=10*arctan(0.2*X)/π +5
Range of validity -∞<X<+∞
 
SSIFormulasIndicator21.png
Indicator 22
Gross Domestic Product
Formula: 10*(1.01-EXP(-0.00007*X))
Range of validity: X>0
 
SSIFormulasIndicator22.png
Indicator 23
Employment
Formula: F(X)=exp(-0.1*X)*10
Range of validity: X≥0
 
SSIFormulasIndicator23.png
Indicator 24
Public Debt
Formula: F(X)=exp(-0.009*X)*10
Range of validity: X≥0
 
SSIFormulasIndicator24.png

Using SSI

You can use the information of the SSI in various ways, depending on your role and position in society, and of course depending on your interest, time and ambitions. Let’s briefly outline some possibilities.

Policymakers, government officials

  1. Use this information to show the public the actual situation concerning sustainability, not in a impressive but overwhelming report but just at a glance, very transparent and easy to understand.
  2. Use the 24 indicators – maybe completed by additional indicators you may require for your specific situation – to set the policy with respect to sustainability. For instance, at national level, each indicator can be assigned to a specific ministry. This ministry will be responsible for the development towards sustainability with respect to this indicator. The SSI can monitor the results of projects and programmes with respect to the contribution to sustainability. For example, what is the actual progress towards sustainability? Will the targets set by the government be met in time? This will be an input for the revision of projects and for the revision of strategies.
  3. Use the SSI as a benchmark instrument for comparing countries and regions, and thus stimulating each other to make progress on the way towards sustainability.

Individuals

  1. See how your own country performs with respect to development towards sustainability, where are the best possibilities for improvement, where is the necessity most urgent etc.?
  2. Compare your country with neighbouring countries and see on which aspects these are performing better or worse than your own country. Why is this, what can you learn by this information?
  3. Use the information to urge yourself and your community to take measures to speed up progress towards sustainability.
  4. Tell your representatives and politicians what you expect them to do to enhance the level of sustainability, on short term as well as on the long run.

Education institutes

  1. Include sustainability and development towards sustainability in the curricula at all levels, in schools as well as at university level. Use the information from the SSI to illustrate what is happening in the world around us.
  2. Assign further research projects, using the information from the SSI, to pupils in secondary schools and students in high schools and universities.
  3. Set up specific research programmes for subjects you’re interested in.

NGOs

  1. Evaluate your sustainability strategy using the SSI-information and adjust if necessary. Communicate this new strategy to the public.
  2. Monitor the development and implementation of the national sustainability policies using the SSI and hold politicians responsible in case of underperformance.

Industry

  1. Use the SSI-information to increase your own awareness of the actual level of sustainability in countries where your firm is operating.
  2. Improve your own performance with respect to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
  3. Introduce further innovations. An example is the development of a tailor-made sustainability index for greenhouse cultures in the Netherlands, based on the concept of the SSI. This new index is already operational.

Results 2010

Sustainable Society Index 2010 - World

The SSI-2010 offers clear conclusions:

World

  1. The world at large is – with a score of 5.9 on a scale of 0 to 10 – only just over halfway to a sustainable world.
  2. Two indicators show alarmingly low figures: Consumption of Renewable Energy has a score of 3.2 and Organic Farming an even way lower score of 0.7.
  3. Basic Needs scores highest of the 8 categories. The score of 8.2 – unweighted for a country’s population size – reflects that 18% of the world population, i.e. over 1.2 billion people, still lacks adequate basic needs. The more justified weighted figure is even more alarming: 21.9%, i.e. over 1.5 billion people.
  4. Economic Wellbeing, which reflects not just GDP but economy in much broader sense as well as preparation for the future, i.e. transition towards a sustainable society, is lacking behind the other two wellbeing dimensions. Economic Wellbeing only scores 4.6. Environmental Wellbeing (6.1) and Human Wellbeing (6.7) are performing better, though are still way below full sustainability.

Regions

  1. North & West Europe show the highest SSI score of all regions, 6.9, whereas – not surprisingly, Sub Saharan Africa has the lowest score of 5.3.
  2. The same applies for Human and for Economic Wellbeing. However, for Environmental Wellbeing Sub Saharan Africa scores best of all regions.

Progress

  1. Many indicators show progress over the past 4 years, above all those expressing Basic Needs and Personal Development, except for Gender Equality.
  2. Air Quality (nature) improved steadily, Air Quality (humans) is quite volatile, as well as many of the further indicators, especially those for Economic Wellbeing.
  3. Three categories show significant progress since 2006: Basic Needs, Healthy Environment and Economy, though the latter decreased over 2008-2010.
  4. In spite of the widely felt urgency, the score of Climate & Energy was in decline over the period 2006-2010.
  5. All changes resulted in a slight positive development of Human and Environmental Wellbeing. Economic Wellbeing made progress over 2006-2008, but has been in decline in the next period, and can be expected to be even more so over the period 2010-2012.
  6. One needs a magnifying glass to notice the progress of the overall figure of the SSI, from 5.8 in 2006 to 5.9 in 2010, or to be more exact, from 5.76 to 5.94. However, the accuracy of the underlying data is way too inadequate to justify more than one decimal.

World

The spider web clearly shows the distance to sustainability as represented by the outer circle of the web. The barcharts need no further explanation.

Sustainable Society Index 2010 - World

Indicators 2010 - World Categories 2010 - World
Wellbeings - World SSI 2010 - World

Regions

Human Wellbeing 2010 - Regions Environmental Wellbeing 2010 - Regions
 
Economic Wellbeing 2010 - Regions SSI 2010 - Regions

Progress

Indicators

Indicator scores
 

Categories – Wellbeings – SSI

Indicator scores

Ranking all countries

Ranking 151 countries SSI-2010
Rank   SSI
2006
SSI
2008
SSI
2010
1 Switzerland 7.5 7.6 7.6
2 Sweden 7.3 7.5 7.5
3 Austria 7.4 7.5 7.4
4 Norway 7.2 7.3 7.4
5 Finland 7.0 7.1 7.1
6 Latvia 7.1 7.2 7.1
7 New Zealand 7.1 7.0 7.1
8 Slovenia 7.0 7.1 7.0
9 Luxembourg 6.7 6.8 7.0
10 Denmark 6.7 6.9 6.9
11 Estonia 6.7 7.0 6.8
12 Germany 6.8 6.9 6.8
13 Belarus 6.5 6.6 6.8
14 Hungary 6.8 6.8 6.8
15 France 6.8 6.8 6.8
16 Czech Republic 6.6 6.7 6.8
17 Lithuania 6.8 7.1 6.8
18 Slovak Republic 6.8 7.0 6.7
19 Romania 6.1 6.7 6.7
20 United Kingdom 6.9 6.8 6.7
21 Cuba 6.2 6.6 6.7
22 Japan 6.6 6.7 6.7
23 Costa Rica 6.4 6.7 6.7
24 Italy 6.6 6.7 6.7
25 Uruguay 6.3 6.5 6.6
26 Poland 6.5 6.6 6.6
27 Ireland 6.6 6.7 6.6
28 Portugal 6.5 6.5 6.5
29 Croatia 6.5 6.6 6.5
30 Korea, South 6.4 6.5 6.5
31 Moldova 6.0 6.4 6.5
32 Albania 6.4 6.5 6.5
33 Montenegro 6.0 6.2 6.5
34 Philippines 6.1 6.4 6.5
35 Netherlands 6.7 6.9 6.4
36 Bhutan 5.8 6.1 6.4
37 Spain 6.5 6.6 6.4
38 Thailand 6.3 6.4 6.4
39 Armenia 5.8 6.4 6.4
40 Sri Lanka 6.4 6.4 6.4
41 Serbia 6.0 6.2 6.4
42 Canada 6.4 6.4 6.4
43 Iceland 6.8 6.9 6.4
44 Vietnam 6.2 6.5 6.3
45 Panama 6.0 6.3 6.3
46 Chile 6.5 6.4 6.3
47 Bulgaria 6.2 6.5 6.3
48 Ukraine 6.3 6.4 6.3
49 Australia 6.4 6.3 6.2
50 United States 6.1 6.2 6.2
51 Malaysia 6.2 6.2 6.2
52 Brazil 5.9 6.1 6.2
53 El Salvador 5.7 6.1 6.2
54 Georgia 6.0 6.4 6.2
55 China 5.9 6.1 6.2
56 Russia 6.1 6.1 6.2
57 Laos 5.6 6.2 6.1
58 Dominican Republic 5.8 6.1 6.1
59 Gabon 6.1 6.0 6.1
60 Tajikistan 5.0 5.7 6.1
61 Kazakhstan 5.4 5.8 6.1
62 Greece 6.1 6.3 6.1
63 Peru 6.0 6.1 6.1
64 Taiwan 6.1 6.2 6.1
65 Belgium 6.1 6.1 6.1
66 Ecuador 5.8 6.0 6.1
67 Bangladesh 5.5 6.0 6.1
68 Guatemala 5.6 6.1 6.1
69 Turkey 5.9 6.1 6.1
70 Macedonia 6.0 6.1 6.1
71 Kyrgyz Republic 5.5 5.9 6.1
72 Nicaragua 5.6 6.0 6.0
73 Honduras 5.2 5.6 6.0
74 Tunisia 5.8 6.0 6.0
75 Guyana 5.5 5.9 6.0
76 Morocco 5.6 5.8 6.0
77 Colombia 5.9 6.0 6.0
78 Argentina 5.9 5.9 6.0
79 Cyprus 6.0 6.1 6.0
80 Israel 5.5 5.7 6.0
81 Algeria 5.7 5.8 6.0
82 Nepal 5.5 5.7 5.9
83 India 5.8 5.9 5.9
84 Uzbekistan 5.4 5.6 5.9
85 Venezuela 5.5 5.7 5.9
86 Jamaica 5.8 6.0 5.9
87 Mexico 5.6 5.9 5.9
88 Cambodia 5.7 5.9 5.9
89 Azerbaijan 5.4 5.6 5.9
90 Botswana 5.7 5.8 5.9
91 Malawi 5.1 5.6 5.8
92 Bosnia-Herzegovina 5.9 6.0 5.8
93 Benin 5.6 5.6 5.8
94 Lebanon 5.4 5.5 5.8
95 Uganda 5.5 5.5 5.8
96 Paraguay 5.6 5.7 5.8
97 Iran 5.3 5.6 5.7
98 Senegal 5.7 5.7 5.7
99 Tanzania 5.7 5.6 5.7
100 Rwanda 5.9 5.5 5.7
101 Egypt 5.4 5.5 5.7
102 Jordan 5.3 5.4 5.6
103 Cote D’ivoire 5.7 5.5 5.6
104 Indonesia 5.5 5.7 5.6
105 Kuwait 5.4 5.6 5.5
106 South Africa 5.6 5.5 5.5
107 Malta 5.3 5.6 5.5
108 Korea, North 5.4 5.4 5.5
109 Namibia 5.3 5.6 5.5
110 Oman 5.3 5.5 5.5
111 Nigeria 5.4 5.5 5.5
112 Ghana 5.9 5.8 5.4
113 Libya 5.2 5.3 5.4
114 Trinidad and Tobago 5.6 5.5 5.4
115 Papua New Guinea 4.9 5.2 5.4
116 Myanmar 5.3 5.4 5.3
117 Saudi Arabia 4.9 5.2 5.3
118 Mongolia 5.0 5.5 5.3
119 Ethiopia 5.1 5.2 5.3
120 Mali 5.0 5.2 5.3
121 United Arab Emirates 5.4 5.3 5.3
122 Cameroon 5.3 5.4 5.3
123 Kenya 5.8 5.8 5.3
124 Bolivia 5.1 5.4 5.3
125 Pakistan 5.2 5.4 5.2
126 Turkmenistan 4.5 5.1 5.2
127 Madagascar 5.0 5.0 5.2
128 Qatar 5.2 5.2 5.2
129 Syria 4.7 5.0 5.2
130 Zambia 4.9 5.0 5.2
131 Guinea-Bissau 5.1 5.1 5.1
132 Mozambique 5.1 5.1 5.1
133 Niger 4.5 4.6 5.1
134 Haiti 4.9 4.9 5.1
135 Burkina Faso 4.9 5.1 5.1
136 Togo 5.2 5.0 5.0
137 Gambia 5.3 5.3 5.0
138 Burundi 4.7 4.6 5.0
139 Central African Republic 5.1 5.0 5.0
140 Sierra Leone 4.9 4.6 5.0
141 Liberia 5.0 4.8 5.0
142 Angola 4.7 4.9 5.0
143 Iraq 4.7 4.9 5.0
144 Mauritania 4.5 4.9 4.9
145 Congo 4.7 4.9 4.9
146 Zimbabwe 5.1 4.8 4.8
147 Yemen 4.7 4.8 4.8
148 Chad 4.4 4.5 4.7
149 Guinea 4.9 4.7 4.7
150 Congo. Dem. Rep. 4.5 4.6 4.6
151 Sudan 4.4 4.4 4.5
 

Top 20 – Bottom 20

Top 20 SSI-2010
  SSI-2006 SSI-2008 SSI-2010
  Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank
Switzerland 7.5 1 7.6 1 7.6 1
Sweden 7.3 3 7.5 3 7.5 2
Austria 7.4 2 7.5 2 7.4 3
Norway 7.2 4 7.3 4 7.4 4
Finland 7.0 8 7.1 8 7.1 5
Latvia 7.1 6 7.2 5 7.1 6
New Zealand 7.1 5 7.0 9 7.1 7
Slovenia 7.0 7 7.1 6 7.0 8
Luxembourg 6.7 16 6.8 16 7.0 9
Denmark 6.7 17 6.9 12 6.9 10
Estonia 6.7 18 7.0 10 6.8 11
Germany 6.8 14 6.9 14 6.8 12
Belarus 6.5 26 6.6 27 6.8 13
Hungary 6.8 11 6.8 18 6.8 14
France 6.8 15 6.8 17 6.8 15
Czech Republic 6.6 23 6.7 23 6.8 16
Lithuania 6.8 10 7.1 7 6.8 17
Slovak Republic 6.8 13 7.0 11 6.7 18
Romania 6.1 49 6.7 22 6.7 19
United Kingdom 6.9 9 6.8 19 6.7 20
Bottom 20 SSI-2010
  SSI-2006 SSI-2008 SSI-2010
  Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank
Mozambique 5.1 121 5.1 130 5.1 132
Niger 4.5 147 4.6 146 5.1 133
Haiti 4.9 136 4.9 139 5.1 134
Burkina Faso 4.9 134 5.1 128 5.1 135
Togo 5.2 118 5.0 133 5.0 136
Gambia 5.3 112 5.3 122 5.0 137
Burundi 4.7 144 4.6 147 5.0 138
Central African Republic 5.1 125 5.0 136 5.0 139
Sierra Leone 4.9 139 4.6 148 5.0 140
Liberia 5.0 131 4.8 143 5.0 141
Angola 4.7 140 4.9 138 5.0 142
Iraq 4.7 142 4.9 137 5.0 143
Mauritania 4.5 149 4.9 141 4.9 144
Congo 4.7 143 4.9 140 4.9 145
Zimbabwe 5.1 124 4.8 144 4.8 146
Yemen 4.7 145 4.8 142 4.8 147
Chad 4.4 150 4.5 150 4.7 148
Guinea 4.9 133 4.7 145 4.7 149
Congo. Dem. Rep. 4.5 148 4.6 149 4.6 150
Sudan 4.4 151 4.4 151 4.5 151
 

Data

You can download all data which have been used for the SSI-2006, SSI-2008 and SSI-2010: the raw data for the indicators as well as the scores for the indicators, categories, wellbeing dimensions and the overall index. Download Data 2006, 2008, 2010. Excel

Before looking at the detailed information, please have a look at the Notes. See Below

Further information comprise detailed data of SSI-2010 per indicator as well as aggregated data per category, wellbeing dimension and finally the SSI. One will see, as expected, that the more one aggregates, the more information one looses. This common – and justified – objection to aggregation can only be addressed by always also looking at the underlying data.

For detailed information per country, go to Maps

For further detailed data of SSI-2010, see below.


SSI 2010

 


Notes

  1. The colours used in the various graphs facilitate a quick assessment of the actual situation. Each colour corresponds with a score range:
    8 or higher
    7 to 8
    6 to 7
    5 to 6
    4 to 5
    4 or lower
  2. Spider webs show both the value of the score (on a scale of 0 to 10) and the distance to sustainability. The outer circle represents full sustainability, the center no sustainability at all.
  3. Regions: we have followed the United Nations classification of regions.
  4. Africa Sub Sahara includes all African countries except the six Africa North countries (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia)
  5. Note that for the graphs showing the correlation between the score and GDP per capita either a logarithmic scale or a linear scale for GDP has been chosen, depending on which scale provides the clearest picture.
  6. Note that in the histogram of each indicator, the raw data have been presented. The histograms of the categories, wellbeing dimensions and SSI show the score values.
  7. Note that in the tables Top 10 and Bottom 10, countries with the same score are listed in alphabetical order.
  8. The classification of income classes, according to the thresholds as defined by the World Bank (year of data 2009) are
    Income class Limits
    (US$ per capita per year)
    Number of
    countries
    Low income ≤ 995 12
    Lower middle income 996 to 3,945 38
    Upper middle income 3,946 to 12,195 45
    High income > 12,195 56
  9. Abbreviations:
    CDIAC – Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center
    CIA – Central Intelligence Agency
    EF – Ecological Footprint
    EPI – Environmental Performance Index
    EU – European Union
    FAO – Food and Agriculture Organisation
    FiBL – Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau
    GDI – Gender related Development Index
    GHG – Greenhouse Gases
    GDP –Gross Domestic Product
    Gha – global hectares
    GNI – Gross National Income
    HALE – Health Adjusted Life Expectancy
    HDR – Human Development Report
    IEA – International Energy Agency
    ILO – International Labour Organisation
    IMF – International Monetary Fund
    ISEW – Index for Sustainable Economic Welfare
    MDG – Millennium Development Goals
    MRYA – Most recent year available
    RCW – renewable combustibles and waste
    SSF – Sustainable Society Foundation
    SSI – Sustainable Society Index
    TPES – Total Primary Energy Supply
    UN – United Nations
    UNEP – United Nations Environmental Program
    Unesco – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
    UNICEF – United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund
    WCMC – World Conservation Monitoring Centre
    WHO – World Health Organisation
    WWF – World Wildlife Fund / World Wild Fund for Nature

Maps

The interactive maps offer anyone the opportunity to see how her or his country is performing with respect to sustainability. One can make comparisons with other countries, see how the various regions are doing, and so much more. Look for yourself and experience the possibilities of playing with the data.
Go to the maps you wish to see by clicking below:

Information

SSF is involved in a number of projects, implementation projects as well as research projects. These are listed on the page Projects.

Publications, as well the books as some articles and reports, can be found on the page Publications.

Should you wish any further information, do not hesitate to contact us.

Publications

All mentioned publications can be downloaded for free.

Books

Publication SSI2010   The report of the new update of the SSI, SSI-2010, is now available. Download here
Sustainable Society Index 2010 (PDF)

Contact us

We appreciate to receive your reaction, comments, suggestions and possible questions.

Sustainable Society Foundation
Wassenaarseweg 16
2596 CH The Hague
The Netherlands

www.ssfindex.com
Phone: +31 487 515972
Email: info@ssfindex.com

Geurt van de Kerk
E-mailgeurt.vandekerk@ssfindex.com

Arthur Manuel
E-mail: arthur.manuel@ssfindex.com

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