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Sustainability Impact Assessment Conceptual framework



First developed in 1999 by the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM)

For the European Commission to assess the impact of trade agreements on social, economic and environmental sustainability in their own countries as well as integrated sustainability with other nations involved in trading



A methodological soft policy instrument for developing integrated policies which take full account of E+S+G 


  • Investigate the interrelations between these aspects,weighted impact of each component (pillar) against the others is included.


Assessment takes place before policies are been formulated


  • SIA follows well-defined methodologies and procedures that are transparent and creates a learning environment

  • SIA assesses whether a proposed policy will contribute to sustainable development or not; does not evaluate the policy against its own goals




Full integration of the three sustainable development aspects

A focus beyond numbers


  • Uses a variety of tools and methodologies to capture the less readily monetized aspects


Stakeholder involvement


  • Ensures input on the possible impacts (direct or indirect) and trade-offs from different perspectives and disciplines.

  • Politicians, civil servants, stakeholders and civil society can all contribute 


Transparent, independent & evidence-based


  • Carried by external party, with best-chosen tools and methodologies






  1. Better planning and implementation with “anticipate and avoid” method and considering both short-term and long-term effects – what seems to be beneficial in the short term can be devastating in the long term.


 Minimize negative impact & associated cost 


  1. Create learning environment by feeding back info to database 

  2. Stakeholder participation allows for greater transparency and creates more sustainable and consensual policy solutions. 


SIA uses a variety of tools and methodologies to capture less monetary aspects of sustainability.


Share the Companies/programs in use of this SIA

1. National Health Service, UK (UK's publicly funded healthcare systems)

2. BELU Water, UK (UK-based drinks company)

3. Furniture Industry Research Association/FIRA, UK (UK's largest furniture association with service support provided eg. consultancy)

4. European Forest Institute, Finland (intl organisation concerning forest-related policies, founded by european countries, now with 29 Member Countries, and c. 120 member organizations from 38 different countries)

5. Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden (Sweden's top-​ranked university for Chemical Engineering)

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