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IDB Group Sustainable Infrastructure 360º Awards – Methodology

The Harvard Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure has developed an objective framework to assess and quantify infrastructure sustainability. The goal of the assessment methodology is to improve the sustainable performance of infrastructure projects, not only in technical terms, but also from a social, environmental, and economic perspective. Additionally, the purpose of the assessment methodology is to initiate a systemic change toward sustainability and recognize the full spectrum of efforts, from projects that take steps to improve upon the status quo to projects that restore communities, environments, and the economy. The assessment methodology provides an opportunity for infrastructure owners and designers to provide higher performing solutions by using a restorative approach, a complete lifecycle approach, and by working with communities.

The Harvard Zofnass assessment methodology for the IDB Private Sector Infrastructure Sustainability Awards has been organized into two categories and five subcategories based on their main area of impact

  • People and Leadership (PL)

    • Quality of Life
    • Leadership
  • Climate and Environment (CE)

    • Resource Allocation
    • Natural World
    • Climate and Risk


People and Leadership (PL)

This category groups efforts made not only to improve the overall quality of life of people and communities affected by infrastructure projects but also efforts that the project’s leadership takes towards stakeholder collaboration, inclusion, and policy design.

  • Quality of Life

Quality of life aims to maximize the quality of people who use, or are affected by, infrastructure projects, by:

  • Minimizing environmental health impacts and promoting safety and security;
  • Engaging the local community in decision-making;
  • Employing and training local workers.
  • Leadership

Leadership aims to engage project stakeholders and to create long-lasting infrastructure by:

  • Providing for stakeholders involvement and fostering collaboration;
  • Addressing conflicting regulations and policies;
  • Planning for long-term maintenance and monitoring.


Climate and Environment (CE)

This category groups efforts to minimize the impact of infrastructure projects on the environment and local ecosystems; the use and availability of material, water, and energy resources; and to ensure the resilience of the project against short-term hazards and long-term climate change.

  • Resource Allocation

Resource allocation promotes the use of materials, water, and energy resources which:

  • Minimize impact on the current environment;
  • Do not compromise the ability of future generations to have access to the resources they will need.
  • Natural World

Natural world aims to minimize the negative impacts of infrastructure on local and regional ecosystems by:

  • Promoting the rejuvenation of degraded ecosystems;
  • Minimizing fragmentation and disruption to ecosystems;
  • Mitigating problems caused by its construction or operations.
  • Climate and Risk

Climate and risk aims to minimize the impacts and contribution of the infrastructure project to climate change by:

  • Minimizing green-house gas emissions;
  • Ensuring resilience against short-term hazards and long-term climate change.

For more information, please visit: http://research.gsd.harvard.edu/zofnass/

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