Balancing or prioritising for sustainable development? Perceptions of sustainability integration among professionals

Francesco S. Montesano*, Frank Biermann, Agni Kalfagianni, Marjanneke J. Vijge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The effective integration of the environmental with the economic and social dimensions of sustainability will only succeed when the core problem perceptions of professionals in these fields adjust as well. Yet, while sustainability integration in general has been thoroughly researched, few studies have analysed the specific role of subjective understandings among professionals. This article bridges this gap by asking how professionals understand and operationalise sustainability integration. Which factors shape their perceptions and practices? We present the results of an online survey that was circulated to a diverse sample of professionals and then analysed using statistical methods. Responses from 508 participants show that sustainability integration is mostly perceived as a balance across all three sustainability dimensions rather than a hierarchy with the environment at its basis. However, perceptions also vary significantly across professional and geographical contexts. This signifies the need to better account for how individual circumstances affect processes of integration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1921-1936
Number of pages16
JournalSustainable Development
Volume31
Issue number3
Early online dateJan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • perceptions
  • survey
  • sustainability governance
  • sustainability integration

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