There have been a number of initiatives in recent years to generate indicators of national-level sustainability, resilience and vulnerability, yet obtaining the data behind these efforts is often difficult. Even where data are publicly available for download, combining them with other indicators or ingesting them into other databases can be problematic. Through this compendium SEDAC has sought to make the acquisition, comparison and analysis of sustainability indicators easier by compiling them in a single database, incorporating multiple country codes, and condensing the indicator descriptions into short methodological summaries in an accompanying metadata database.
At present the compendium includes 426 indicators from the following six collections:
- 2006 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
- 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI)
- 2004 Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI)
- Rio to Johannesburg Dashboard of Sustainability
- The Wellbeing of Nations
- 2006 National Footprint Accounts (Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity)
Note that, with two exceptions, we have attempted to maintain the integrity of these collections, even in cases where separate collections may share the same or similar indicators. The exceptions are the Rio to Johannesburg and Wellbeing of Nations collections, in which we selected only the environmentally relevant indicators, removing from consideration indicators focusing primarily on social or econonomic sustainability. Users desiring fuller documentation on the underlying assumptions and methodological details of any of the above indicator collections are encouraged to obtain the original reports listed on the individual data set pages.
The compendium also incorporates useful ancillary data such as region name, dummy variables for landlocked countries and small island states, population, GDP, and land area.