Publication List | Joachim Spangenberg

The Corporate Human Development Index CHDI: a tool for corporate social sustainability management and reporting

Joachim H. Spangenberg

Journal of Cleaner Production 23.12.2015

Sustainable development is one of the dominant societal and political discourses around the world now, and the Human Development Index HDI has become an important issue of debate in many countries but so far there is a lack of perspective regarding the impact of the HDI issues on corporate management, and vice versa. The paper suggests a transparent, easy-to-communicate supplement to the existing, often complex and data-heavy corporate CSR management and reporting tools by borrowing from a macro level concept: the Human Development Index HDI.

We derive the CHDI by projecting the criteria and categories of UNDP's HDI to the company level, using in addition the capital stock approach and the discourse on the future of labour. Its basic components are (1) longevity and industrial relations, (2) education, knowledge and skills, and (3) the standard of living and distributional justice.

As a management tool, the CHDI focusses attention on the social and human capital of a company by monitoring main factors contributing to their slow erosion which is often recognised too late in day-to-day management.

Integrating the CHDI into corporate management and target setting is this a contribution to risk management by extending stakeholder management to one key group, the corporate staff. Regarding reporting, the CHDI enhances transparency and credibility, is independent of size, sector and location of a company and can be used for social sustainability/human development rankings.

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The world we see shapes the world we make

Joachim H. Spangenberg

Int. J. Sustainable Development 19 (2016)

How the underlying ontologies lead to different recommendations from environmental and ecological economics – the Green Economy example

Since the beginning of the decade, the discussion on sustainable development has lost inprominence, being gradually replaced by a debate on the “Green Economy” (UNEP 2011)family of concepts, including the “Green New Deal” (UNEP 2009), “Green Growth”(OECD 2011) or a “Global Marshall Plan for a Worldwide Eco-social Market Economy”(Rademacher 2012). However, the substance of this replacement is not exactly clear; severalrounds of informal negotiations have not produced a clear-cut definition of what a GreenEconomy ultimately is. The promises are striking (conserving nature, overcoming poverty,providing equity and creating employment), but the means, measures and philosophy behindlook rather familiar. Essentially is seems to be environmental modernisation modernisedby an increased concentration on economic instruments, market mechanisms and voluntaryagreements with the business sector which is described (and portraits itself) as the main agentfor achieving sustainability.

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The Ecosystem Service Cascade: further developing the metaphor

Joachim H. Spangenberg, Christina von Haaren, Josef Settele

Ecological Economics, Volume 104, August 2014, Pages 22-32

Integrating societal processes to accommodate social processes and planning, and the case of bioenergy.

The ‘cascade model’ of ecosystem service generation and valuation highlights the links between biophysical aspects/biodiversity and human well-being, in particular for the case of marginal changes, but does not include societal processes. Services seem to flow effortlessly from ecosystems to beneficiaries, as free gifts of nature. We integrate such processes, strengthening the model's applicability to non-incremental changes, and to landscape planning. A process analysis shows how use value attribution turns biophysical ecosystem functions into ecosystem service potentials which (except for ‘final services’) have to be mobilised to provide ecosystem services. Once appropriated, these services generate ecosystem benefits which may be commercialised, or not.The important role of use value attribution for the final (e)valuation of policies, plans and their expected outcome is illustrated by discussing different service potentials attributed to the same function, biomass provision, and the different bioenergy services resulting.For the reverse use of the ‘cascade’ as ‘stairways’ for planning processes, the prevailing uncertainty requires legal and participative foundations for decision making, and an awareness of the potentially conflicting private and public interests involved. This reverse application combines with the ‘cascade’ to form a full cycle of ecosystem services generation and management.

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