13On Measuring Sustainability

13.1. Introduction

In our economy, it is easy to see that some developed western countries have great difficulties to keep their rank, their economic or financial burden, while responding to various and strong demand constraints from society and the preservation of nature.

Thus, to use a fashionable term: politicians, a selected official people, often refer to the lack of competitiveness of a particular industry, or an activity sector. Focus often addresses the competitiveness of a process, while highlighting the development of a sustainable economic system, with the constraints of societal, ecological, political subject matters, etc.

Are sustainability and competitivity antagonistic concepts? Complementary? Is one not the source or the evolution of the other? How do we measure them?

Also, with the advent of the third industrial revolution that emphasizes information processing under time pressure, instead of processing products under the constraint of energy, the type and nature of the parameters to be taken into account, therefore, change. What are they?

This chapter will try to answer these questions.

13.2. Some basic criteria specific to the new “Sustainable” era

The issue related to the sustainability is often seen in a limited and non-global way, but not so comprehensive: it leads to a tremendous need for understanding and appraising its involvement in the action and decision matters. Thus, when addressing certain aspects of our environment, ...

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