Sustainability assessment is a process that evaluates the social, environmental, and economic consequences of a particular project or proposal . The Sustainability Assessment and Management process should incorporate certain key features, including a comprehensive and systems-based analysis of alternative options, intergenerational evaluation of the long-term consequences of alternatives, and stakeholder involvement and collaboration throughout the process .
The Sustainability Assessment and Management process involves several steps. The first step is a screening evaluation to determine whether to conduct the Sustainability Assessment and Management process and to determine the appropriate level of effort or depth of such an assessment. This step is followed by problem definition and scoping, which includes identification of options, preliminary scoping of the analysis, stakeholder involvement, and opportunities for collaboration. The next section describes a set of analytic tools that can be used in the Sustainability Assessment and Management process. The set of potential tools include risk assessment, life-cycle assessment, benefit-cost analysis, ecosystem-services valuation, integrated assessment models, sustainable impact assessment, environmental justice, and present and future scenario tools .
The final step is to integrate the Sustainability Assessment and Management process into management and policy decisions. Integration into decision making involves summarizing the major results of the assessment in terms of a trade-off and synergy analysis that highlights impacts on important social, environmental, and economic objectives .