Development of a trajectory to support sustainable choices at farm level

Ine Coteur, Fleur Marchand, Lies Debruyne, Floris Dalemans, Ludwig Lauwers

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Agriculture is more and more faced with extreme challenges such as climate change, scarcity of natural resources andspecific demands from society. Both on farm and agricultural sector level, stakeholders express their need to evolvetowards more sustainable farming practices to guarantee their future. To face these challenges many initiatives toidentify, measure, evaluate and communicate sustainable development arise. The use of sustainability assessments isseen as an important instrument to move towards sustainability (Pope et al., 2004). Many definitions of sustainabilityassessment exist. It can be seen as “a range of processes that all have as their broad aim the integration of sustainabilityconcepts into decision-making” (Pope, 2006). Sustainability assessment is “a process by which the implications of aninitiative on sustainability are evaluated” (Pope et al., 2004). The initiative can range from an existing policy, a plan,programme, project or a current practice or activity. Hugé et al. (2011) describe it as a process that aims atoperationalising sustainable development as a guide for decision-making by identifying the future consequences ofcurrent and planned actions.

Literature on sustainability assessment and sustainability assessment tools to support decision making is still rapidlygrowing (Gasparatos & Scolobig, 2012; Marchand et al., 2014). However, despite this growing interest in sustainabilityassessments and the existence of numerous assessment tools, opinions differ on how to define, plan and measure theprogress towards sustainability (Gasparatos & Scolobig, 2012). There is a lack in literature regarding tool choice, use oftools and use of specific methodologies in assessments (de Ridder et al., 2007). Not only the selection of a tool, but alsoits implementation plays a major role in the success of a sustainability assessment. Previous research on theimplementation of assessment tools which support the decision making process of a farmer have led to multiple insights(Coteur et al. 2014; Marchand et al. 2014; Triste et al. 2014). Ownership, monitoring results over time, the attitude ofthe tool-users and the organization of discussion groups need to be taken into account when implementing anassessment tool. Nevertheless, insights on how various assessment tools can be used in a complementary way to supportthe needs of a farmer are lacking. We developed a two-dimensional assessment framework to support sustainable farmchoices. The framework allows the farmer to follow a trajectory towards more sustainable farming making use of a setof complementary tools.

TaalEngels
TitelProceedings of the 5th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design
Aantal pagina's2
Datumsep-2015
StatusGepubliceerd - sep-2015
Evenement5th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design - Montpellier, Frankrijk
Duur: 7-sep-201510-sep-2015
http://fsd5.european-agronomy.org/

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