Tools and methods to assess sustainability are often focused on lucrative activities, searching for behaviours that preserve some business as usual while at the same time taking into account environmental issues. Emergy analysis was originally inspired from and applied to natural ecosystems as a method able to geobiophysically account for non-monetary inputs. In recent years, however, even emergy accounting has been more and more applied to investigate the supply of products and services that are mostly referred to public or private budgeted investments. In the present contribution, we show the potential of the emergy analysis in addressing activities that are outside the logic of business, depending on voluntary work and donations: this is the case of nonprofit entities (like nongovernmental organisations, associations and movements), unpaid household work, and unpaid care (e.g., towards children, ill or aged people). Our societies significantly rely upon such activities, which are in turn based on the energy, materials and information flows that support the society. If the popular adage 'There is no such thing as a free lunch' was proposed in the early 1970s as one of the laws of ecology (cf. Commoner, 1971), we might also say that there is no such thing as a free service in sustainability studies. Therefore, an assessment of the sustainability of nonprofit activities and entities cannot disregard the systemic interconnections of all of their inputs with the larger support systems, which in turn affect their ability to adapt and survive. In this presentation, some examples will be given of emergy accounting applied to not-for-profit activities.

Care before business: on the potential of emergy analysis to address the sustainability of not-for-profit systems.

Cristiano S.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Gonella F.
Supervision
;
Spagnolo S.
Membro del Collaboration Group
2019

Abstract

Tools and methods to assess sustainability are often focused on lucrative activities, searching for behaviours that preserve some business as usual while at the same time taking into account environmental issues. Emergy analysis was originally inspired from and applied to natural ecosystems as a method able to geobiophysically account for non-monetary inputs. In recent years, however, even emergy accounting has been more and more applied to investigate the supply of products and services that are mostly referred to public or private budgeted investments. In the present contribution, we show the potential of the emergy analysis in addressing activities that are outside the logic of business, depending on voluntary work and donations: this is the case of nonprofit entities (like nongovernmental organisations, associations and movements), unpaid household work, and unpaid care (e.g., towards children, ill or aged people). Our societies significantly rely upon such activities, which are in turn based on the energy, materials and information flows that support the society. If the popular adage 'There is no such thing as a free lunch' was proposed in the early 1970s as one of the laws of ecology (cf. Commoner, 1971), we might also say that there is no such thing as a free service in sustainability studies. Therefore, an assessment of the sustainability of nonprofit activities and entities cannot disregard the systemic interconnections of all of their inputs with the larger support systems, which in turn affect their ability to adapt and survive. In this presentation, some examples will be given of emergy accounting applied to not-for-profit activities.
Emergy Synthesis 10: Theory and Applications of the Emergy Methodology. Proceedings of the 10th Biennial Emergy Conference. Center for Environmental Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville. 216 pages.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3716581
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