Table 1. Approaches to sustainability assessment.

Measurement-based approaches Process-oriented approaches
Theoretical conceptual framework Sustainable development targets and goals, 3 dimensional approach (social, economic, environmental) Dynamic systems
Complex adaptive systems
Focus of attention Benchmarking and ranking Identify and understand key drivers for sustainability
Main goal Judge success in relation to the attainment of a target or goal Explore potential future scenarios
Methodological approaches Composite indices
Goal-oriented frameworks
System attribute-based frameworks
Main instruments Quantitative, reliable, and verifiable indicators Quantitative and soft modeling approaches, Narratives
Timing of the assessment Ex post Ex ante (planning)
Duration Short-term assessments Long-term assessments
Archetypical examples FESLM (Smyth and Dumanski 1993)
CIFOR framework (Prabhu et al. 1999)
Stockle et al. (1994) framework
AMESH (Waltner-Toews and Kay 2005)
Resilience analysis (Walker et al. 2002)
Ostrom (2009) framework