During 2012 the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) has audited the Sustainable Society Index. JRC assessed the SSI with respect to
- The conceptual coherence of the structure of SSI
- The statistical coherence of the structure of SSI
- The impact of key modelling assumptions on the SSI scores and ranks over 2006-2012.
JRC presented a number of recommendations for further improvement of the SSI. All JRC’s recommendations have been implemented in the new update of the SSI-2012. In a nutshell, the overall conclusions of the audit are:
1. The revised SSI framework is conceptually coherent:
- the indicators are more correlated to their own category than to any other category
- all correlations within a category are significant and positive
- the same conclusion is drawn at the dimension level.
2. The revised SSI framework meets the statistical requirements set by JRC:
- in most SSI categories the underlying indicators have similar implicit weights in classifying countries within each category
- few imbalances were found within the Transition and the Economy category
- the marginal weights of the indicators on the SSI categories scores do not differ too much
- the robustness analysis of country ranks for each SSI Wellbeing dimension showed that the SSI provides a reliable picture of the countries’ performance, that is not driven by methodological assumptions.
3. The SSI is well suited to assess nations’ development towards sustainability in its broad sense: Human, Environmental and Economic Wellbeing:
- the SSI framework goes beyond a purely protectionist approach that would aim to maintain natural systems with minimal human impact
- it describes societal progress along all three dimensions: human, environmental and economic, built on 21 indicators
- it is a conceptually and statistically sound tool, that is widely applicable for on-going assessment of the human-environmental systems
- it can be used to simulate the consequences of a range of potential actions, providing a powerful tool to inform decisions about how to achieve human and economic growth without compromising the environmental wellbeing.
The full report of the audit, Sustainable Society Index (SSI): Taking societies’ pulse along social, environmental and economic issues, is available. Download