Title: Towards a better measurement of the social sustainability of Irish agriculture

Authors: Mary Brennan; Thia Hennessy; Emma Dillon

Addresses: Teagasc Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland; Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Ireland ' Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Ireland ' Agricultural Economics and Farm Surveys Department, Teagasc Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland

Abstract: There exists a need to analyse and develop the social aspects of agricultural sustainability. Distinct gaps between agricultural policy priorities and the data infrastructure needed to develop metrics for policy evaluation at farm level exist, particularly regarding the social dimension of sustainability. This paper aims to examine the current social sustainability frameworks in operation across Europe and beyond, with a view towards expansion using Irish Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey. A stakeholder consultation process, featuring policymakers, farm data recorders, academic researchers amongst others, highlighted pertinent concerns regarding the social sustainability of agriculture. Issues such as farmer stress, work/life balance, generational renewal and the viability of rural areas featured as priority concerns. Issues such as these have been identified as key areas of concern within the new common agricultural policy which supports the continued development of specific indicators of social sustainability.

Keywords: agricultural sustainability; sustainability indicators; stakeholder consultation; farmer wellbeing; rural viability; generational renewal; rural isolation; social sustainability; sustainable development; mixed methods research.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSD.2020.115229

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2020 Vol.23 No.3/4, pp.263 - 287

Accepted: 28 Nov 2020
Published online: 04 May 2021 *

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