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A New Framework of Values-Based Indicators and the ‘We Value’ Toolkit

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A very different approach to measuring values has resulted from the ESDinds Project (a two-year research project funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme). It shows that ethical values can be measured, when locally defined, by using a combination of indicators based on perceptions and observable outputs. An important result is the newly developed set of WE VALUE indicators, which allow civil society organisations and businesses to measure the intangible things that are important to them. The WEVALUE process enables them to crystallize their vision and goals, as they develop specific indicators and measurement methods. It can also assist them to achieve new relationships with funders: building a shared vocabulary around values helps both sides to appreciate each other.

This work has elements of co-inception, co-design and co-production through action research with major and minor civil societies and university researchers. The resulting framework has been startling effective, opening up questions as to whether such an approach could be equally useful in fields like health, pro-environmental behaviour change and new beyond-GDP economics (soft indicators for societal wellbeing).

—- Professor Marie Harder is Professor of Sustainable Waste Management at the University of Brighton, and the Coordinator of the EU FP7 Research project on ESD Indicators entitled, “The Development of Indicators & Assessment Tools for CSO Projects Promoting Values-based Education for Sustainable Development.” She has considerable experience in applied research in waste and recycling, including boundaries across the physical and social sciences, working with businesses, government agencies, civil society and NGOs, leading the Waste & Energy Research Group (WERG). This broad sustainable development approach has resulted in her work addressing issues in co-design, communities of practice, indicator design, community engagement in waste issues, as well as physical sciences.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre series.

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