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How sustainable is your project? You'll know in ten minutes!

New tool to test sustainability of projects in the making
24 September 2021
Sustainable Cost Benefit Analysis

Scoring your project on sustainability is a time-consuming job using current methods, it often takes months and requires a lot of expert knowledge. According to the province of Fryslân, there should be a shorter way. Researcher Dr Frans Sijtsma is building a tool for the province which provides a sustainability check of projects that can be carried out faster and step by step. With this tool, you will have the first results about the sustainability of your project after ten minutes.

The tool, which is being produced under the working title 'Web app for Policy-Enhanced Sustainable Cost Benefit Analysis', enables step-by-step assessment of the sustainability of a project. In the coming months, a website and an app will be developed and then tested by a user group. The test method used in the tool has previously been applied manually. Very special is that the tool uses video-supported surveys to see how a project scores on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. By going through the step-by-step plan in the new tool, you will quickly know what the sustainability of your project is like.

Frans: “The tool is a mirror; is your project as sustainable as you thought? Are there aspects that you had not yet considered that could be added? Or maybe your project scores on points that you hadn't thought of before. There also is a policy aspect; Does a project fit within the sustainability objectives of a province, for example, or is it necessary to alter it? In the project we work with a wide range of pilot projects to properly test the step-by-step method. We are working with the circular Fryske sweater project, in which second-hand wool and locally grown flax are used to make sustainable sweaters, with the Beespoke project, which aims to increase the diversity of insect pollination and harvest yields by 10%, and the project fish migration river in the Afsluitdijk, where species such as salmon and sea trout can migrate between the salt water of the Wadden Sea and the fresh water of the IJsselmeer and the rivers again.”

The researchers in Groningen are working together with the University of Aalborg in Denmark and Central Queensland University in Australia. In addition to the three projects in the north of the Netherlands that serve as pilots, there will also be projects in Denmark and Australia. The tool is financed by the Interreg Europe project Delta Lady and by the Province of Fryslân, and will be available in 2022.

About the researcher

Dr. Frans Sijtsma is a researcher and associate professor at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen. He has a lot of experience in evaluating projects for sustainability. For example, he previously led a large-scale evaluation of the effects on biodiversity of the construction of ecoducts on behalf of Rijkswaterstaat, and developed special Greenmapper software to ask people about their favorite nature spots.

Last modified:24 September 2021 11.41 a.m.
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