Sustainability Metrics Capable of Bringing Human, Social, and Natural Capital to Life in a New Economy
Instead of focusing as hardnosed realists on shouldering the burden of the costs of carbon and sea levels, of relieving human suffering, and of countering social discontent, should not we focus creative efforts on how to make sustainability innovations profitable? Even better, why not aim for a truly hopeful scenario in which joy for life and desire for beauty and meaning inspire ecologically sound personal, social, and economic relationships?
I think sustainability and transformative consciousness can and will be embedded in the knowledge infrastructures of our governance, market, educational, health care, social services, and environmental management institutions' rules, roles, and responsibilities. But these goals will likely not be achieved until we realize the challenges we face are joyful opportunities to show our stuff, and to playfully excel for fun and profits defined as much in terms of quality of life as they are defined financially.
How might this be true? By measuring sustainable human, social, and environmental outcomes well enough to buy and sell them in efficient, low transaction cost, mass markets on global scales. Only then will we be able to reward the creation of socially responsible value in the same way we reward innovative creativity in manufactured value. Only then will we all be able to pull together globally toward common goals at the same time we custom-tailor personalized applications, doing so by means of virally communicable market signals. Living Capital Metrics is working in this direction, building on the long-established interdependency of science and commerce.
The whole point of developing metrics for human, social, and natural capital is to manage sustainability. But sustainability is left fundamentally unmanageable if no mechanisms are provided for business managers to operationalize the metrics efficiently and meaningfully within their work flows, if no mechanisms are provided for investors to reward value creation in an efficient market with low transaction costs, if there are no accounting standards and economic models for pricing intangible assets, and, most importantly, if individual citizens are cut out of the process and treated as voiceless commodity pawns because they have no ownership of their own shares in their personal stocks of human, social, and natural capital.
Scientifically sound work in this area has been published in thousands of peer-reviewed books and journals, and presented at measurement conferences globally, over the last 60 years. Over the last 15 years international meetings of national metrology institutes and tech firms heavily invested in measurement science, sensors, and production research have become involved, with hundreds of publications having been produced. Sustainability and climate change activists should be enthusiastically supporting work in this area on the development of new metric standards for environmental management, education, health care, and social services.
For more information, browse the pages on this site, drop me a line, or see my other sites on the Web:
My UC Berkeley bio: https://old.bear.berkeley.edu/users/wfisher
My RISE bio: https://www.ri.se/sv/person/william-paul-fisher-jr
Connect with me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/livingcapitalmetrics
View my research on my SSRN Author page: http://ssrn.com/author=1090685
Read my blog at http://livingcapitalmetrics.wordpress.com.
See my most cited articles at http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=wtNAj88AAAAJ&hl=en.
Check out my 2012 sustainability chapter in: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9781137087102_3
Have a look at the essay that took 3rd Prize in the 2011 NIST/SES World Standards Day competition: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2083975
See my 2020 article in the journal, Sustainability: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229661
See the 2021 report, "Metrology for Climate-Neutral Cities," I co-authored with Jeanette Melin and Charlotta Moller, with funding from the Research Institutes of Sweden: http://ri.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1616048&dswid=-7140
See my chapter in the 2023 open access book on person-centered outcome metrology I edited with Stefan Cano:
See my foreword to the (open access) 2023 collected works of Jack Stenner: