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Article

Operationalizing Sustainability as a Safe Policy Space

1
CNRS, UMR 5113 GREThA, 33600 Pessac, France
2
UMR 210 Economie Publique, INRA, 75005 Paris, France
3
UMR 1048 SADAPT, INRA, AgroParisTech, 75231 Paris, France
4
Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-SU, CP135, 43 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
5
School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3682; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103682
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
It is possible to frame sustainability as occurring when the global or local system is within a set of limits and boundaries, such as the concept of safe operating spaces within planetary boundaries. However, such framings, whilst highly useful conceptually, have been difficult to translate into operation, especially in the development of policies. Here we show how it is possible to define a safe operating space, bounded by sets of constraints. These constraints can be of a variety of forms (e.g., income, or biodiversity), and, importantly, they need not all be converted to a single common metric such as money. The challenge is to identify a set of policy options that define the “safe policy space” which maintains the system within the safe operating space defined by boundaries. A formal methodology, Co-Viability Analysis (CVA), can be used to do this. This provides a coherent framework to operationalize sustainability and has a number of extra advantages. First, defining a safe policy space allows for a political choice of which policies and so is not prescriptive—such as would be the case if a single policy option were defined. Secondly, by allowing each boundary to be defined with its own scale of measurement, it avoids the necessity of having to value natural capital or ecosystem services in financial terms. This framework, therefore, has the potential to allow decision-makers to genuinely meet the needs of their people, now and in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; biodiversity; viability; land use; agriculture sustainability; biodiversity; viability; land use; agriculture
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mouysset, L.; Doyen, L.; Léger, F.; Jiguet, F.; Benton, T.G. Operationalizing Sustainability as a Safe Policy Space. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3682. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103682

AMA Style

Mouysset L, Doyen L, Léger F, Jiguet F, Benton TG. Operationalizing Sustainability as a Safe Policy Space. Sustainability. 2018; 10(10):3682. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103682

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mouysset, Lauriane; Doyen, Luc; Léger, François; Jiguet, Frédéric; Benton, Tim G. 2018. "Operationalizing Sustainability as a Safe Policy Space" Sustainability 10, no. 10: 3682. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103682

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