Indicator Selection

Coherently with sustainability theory, the FEEM SI structure is composed of the three main pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.

The bundle of indicators composing FEEM SI derives from the relevant sustainability literature, mainly based on lists of indicators from the following international initiatives and institutions:

The process of selection of indicators is not trivial, as they need to have some specific features.

First, there is a scale factor to consider: on the one hand, indicators must have world coverage and cases of missing data must be acceptably few in the base year, that for FEEM SI 2013 is 2007; on the other hand, data for indicators must be at country level (not sub-national level).

Second, the indicators can be projected into the future, in some way; there must be some clear driver/drivers to explain the evolution over time, historically, in order to be used for future trends. In fact, one main effort is to include social and environmental indicators within a macro-economic model.

FEEM SI 2013 covers the following main areas of research on sustainability assessment: economic growth drivers, GDP per capita, economic exposure, population density, wellbeing, social vulnerability, environmental pressure, energy & resources and natural endowments.


Click here for a printable version of the indicators

The 2013 version presents four more indicators, two each for social and environmental dimensions:

  • Social Dimension:
    • "Corruption" to assess social concerns in terms of increasing feeling of lack of trust in public institutions, and potentially leading to social conflicts (violent or pacific);
    • "Access to Information and Communication Technology" to evaluate the degree of social openness and consciousness of communities, as they represent a tool to increase contacts within and among communities, tolerance towards multi-cultural differences in a globalised world, as well as knowledge of local and international governance processes.
  • Environmental Dimension:
    • "Material Intensity" to establish the degree of pressure on environment, through withdrawal of raw material for industrial production processes, thus, promoting dematerialisation;
    • "Waste Generation" parallel to material intensity, but on the consumption side. This indicator can be improved through recycle or reuse of waste, but the recognised top priority is, of course, to reduce the generation, itself, of waste.

FEEM SI 2011 indicators and sustainability literature
To know more about indicator selection click here or move on to the Modeling Framework step!