An Overview of Sustainability Assessment Frameworks in Agriculture

Abdallah Alaoui*, Lúcia Barão, C.S.S. Ferreira, R. Hessel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research established a link between environmental alterations due to agriculture intensification, social damage and the loss of economic growth. Thus, the integration of environmental and social dimensions is key for economic development. In recent years, several frameworks have been proposed to assess the overall sustainability of farms. Nevertheless, the myriad of existing frameworks and the variety of indicators result in difficulties in selecting the most appropriate framework for study site application. This manuscript aims to: (i) understand the criteria to select appropriate frameworks and summarize the range of those being used to assess sustainability; (ii) identify the available frameworks to assess agricultural sustainability; and (iii) analyze the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of each framework. Six frameworks, namely SAFA, RISE, MASC, LADA, SMART and public goods (PG), were identified. Results show that SMART is the framework that considers, in a balanced way, the environmental, sociocultural and economic dimensions of sustainability, whereas others focused on the environmental (RISE), environmental and economic (PG) and sociocultural (SAFA) dimension. However, depending on the scale assessment, sector of application and the sustainability completeness intended, all frameworks are suitable for the assessment. We present a decision tree to help future users understand the best option for their objective.
Original languageEnglish
Article number537
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2022


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