AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) was established in the mid-1960s, drawing on scientific, public service, business and political decision makers to commit to a healthy environment for all Australians. Its vision is ‘a prosperous society in which the principles of ecological sustainability, social justice and human well-being are embedded in Australia’s decision-making processes, in government, in business practices and in our cultures’. Its aim is to achieve ecological sustainability while ensuring social justice and equity.
What they said…
As well as environmental sustainability, the ACF noted equity, inter-generational change, subjective well-being, and the resourcing of environmental measurement in its submission. It stressed the importance of understanding the condition of the environment, and trends in this, particularly in relation to climate change, ecosystem health and resilience, and inland waters. In regard to environmental resource use and pressure, they highlighted the value of information about ecological footprint and resource productivity.
In the society domain, ACF highlighted the value of data about community work, cultural connection and life satisfaction. They suggested valuable measures of progress would be those that address liveability, access to environmental amenities, and connectedness with the natural world, as well as the level of protection of areas reserved for conservation, and of heritage and sacred sites. Within the economy domain, the ACF saw the value of data about working hours and overwork, and about non-market production. In terms of governance, they raised the importance of international engagement and the treatment of animals, including those kept for food production, medical research, companionship, entertainment, and so on.
Valuing non-economic aspects of life – ‘One great weakness in our system of economic thought is that it often fails to recognise the worth of things, relationships and processes that aren’t traded in the marketplace. By default, much of the modern practice of economics continues to assume that, where there is little or no price, there is no value. This “blind spot” in economic accounts and practice... means that many crucial environmental and social issues are effectively invisible.’
‘MAP offers the chance to rectify these flaws, not only by improving the quality and presentation of environmental data, but also by rethinking and revising economic data so that it more accurately and holistically represents the systems of market and non-market production, including ecological productivity.’
A fair go – ‘Most Australians believe in the basic principle of a fair go, and support efforts to ensure a level of equality of opportunity and social inclusion. Where it makes sense to do so, headline indicators should focus on those who are particularly disadvantaged or vulnerable, rather than just on national averages.’