Quantifying the return on investment in the Environment, Public Health and Individual Wellbeing.


This project aims to take a multicultural perspective in quantifying the full environmental, social and economic return on investment in public health and social enterprise.


Professor Manfred Lenzen

Research Location

Charles Perkins Centre – the Judith and David Coffey Life Lab

Program Type



The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) is a concept in which organizations such as companies and government agencies can measure their impact and performance in terms of the "three pillars of sustainability". These three pillars are the economy, the society and the environment. Recently, TBL reporting for organizations has been advanced by applying quantitative methods. While economic and environmental indicators are readily available, only few social issues/indicators have been quantitatively conceptualised. In this program, we aim to add a range of quantitative social indicators to the existing TBL indicator suite (for a list of indicators available in the ISA framework see http://www.isa.org.usyd.edu.au/research/ISA_TBL_Indicators.pdf). This will be done in the context of calculating full social and economic return on investment in public health and social enterprise ventures. In particular, the study considers three groups, one a low-socio economic cohort in Sydney, an Australian Indigenous community in North West New South Wales and the other an Australian Indigenous community in Southern New South Wales.

Additional Information

The Life Lab creates a new kind of graduate and postgraduate training environment at the interface between life, social, economic and physical sciences. Its focus is to address the significant challenges we face from an unsustainable food system that degrades the environmental services it depends on, and creates significant societal health problems. A better understanding of the complexity of the environment-food-health nexus is critical. It is fundamental to building a sustainable society, and one that is more robust to future uncertainties. Our unique approach will be a world-first in shifting research on these growing challenges from treating symptoms to prevention.Life Lab will challenge existing paradigms and university models to create a research training environment in which traditional disciplinary boundaries do not apply. Our ambitious vision is to create an ‘innovation hub' where researchers from disciplines spanning physical, life and social and economic sciences will interface with business, government and agency leaders. It will develop integrated approaches to the challenges that threaten societal wellbeing, and train the next generation of experts with the skills required to find solutions.

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Triple bottom line, investment, social enterprise, public health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Australian indigenous communities, sustainability, Environment, multicultural

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1699

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