Sustainability-inclusive evaluation: Why we need it and how to do it

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This guidance from the Footprint Evaluation Initiative aims to support those doing or overseeing evaluations to include environmental sustainability in feasible and useful ways.

It draws on the authors' work on this issue over the past three years, including proof-of-concept evaluations that have been undertaken, as well as drawing on insights, tools and examples from others' work.

Including environmental sustainability in evaluation

The guidance is intended to support people who are planning, managing or conducting evaluations, especially within national and sub-national governments, to include environmental sustainability, even when this is not a stated objective of the program or policy. Environmental sustainability includes consideration of climate change, biodiversity, pollution, over-exploitation of natural resources, invasive species, and deforestation.

The guide provides direct instrumental advice to inform specific decisions and actions, as well as wider conceptual considerations, such as understanding the value of natural systems and the coupling between environment and equity.

The work will be further developed as more organizations take on this challenge and share their learnings and examples.

Structure of the guide

The guide begins by explaining why environmental sustainability needs to be included in all evaluations and suggesting ways to get it on the evaluation agenda. It then steps the reader through the common processes of planning, managing and conducting an evaluation, with a focus on including environmental sustainability.

Examples are included throughout, with additional resources being listed at the end, including links to networks and organizations working on relevant issues.


Davidson. J., Macfarlan, A., Rogers, P., Rowe, A. & Stevens, K. (2023). Sustainability-inclusive evaluation: Why we need it and how to do it. A Footprint Evaluation Guide. Retrieved from:

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