Data analysis for the National Sustainability Council

Monday, 10 December, 2012

At its second meeting in Melbourne last week, the National Sustainability Council discussed its preliminary analysis of data against the Australian Government’s sustainability indicators and agreed on priority areas of focus for its first report.

The council considered data gathered against the sustainability indicators and identified key social, economic and environmental trends which interlink and impact on Australia’s wellbeing.

In examining data across the indicators, members noted the limited availability of some data below national and state levels and committed to working closely with government over the next year to improve the access to and quality of data sources.

In addition to this, the meeting also focused on the production of the council’s first report, to be released in 2013. Members discussed the opportunities and challenges in sustainability reporting at both the local and national levels and reiterated their commitment to explore innovative ways of presenting sustainability data in their reports.

The council believes that by taking innovative approaches to considering, dissecting and presenting sustainability data in its report, it will maximise the report’s impact and help embed sustainability concepts in business, government and individual decision making.

Members also had the opportunity to engage with Pavan Sukhdev, an international expert in the fields of green growth, natural capital and biodiversity, and environmental economics. Through these discussions, the council considered valuing natural capital, the importance of innovation in shaping sustainable outcomes and the need to look beyond GDP as the sole measure of societal progress.

Members agreed to a program of engagement with relevant experts and stakeholders to better inform their work.

The next meeting of the council is in February 2013.

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