Shared and social values

The increasing threat and ethical demands posed by the severe and ongoing degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services requires ways in which we can more effectively integrate environmental values into policy, as well as build social support for environmental protection. It is a major challenge for democratic societies to balance environmental and other diverse aspirations, in a way that does justice to the diverse and conflicting interests within society, with limited means.

Shared values are values that convey conceptions of the common good between people and are formed, expressed and assigned through social interactions. This site aims to bring together research to assess these values through participatory approaches to valuation, evaluation and appraisal. We focus on environmental issues, but many of the concepts and methods presented here can be applied across a wide range of fields where we manage public goods whilst dealing with complexity, uncertainty and conflicting interests between diverse stakeholders.

To bring about a deep and lasting transformation in the way people interact with one another and with nature, we must come together around a shared understanding, a shared vision for the future, and a shared approach for getting there. Views on such matters are strongly shaped by values, yet many types of value – such as for intimate friendships, health and security, or connections with nature – may not be easy to express, becoming clear only after talking together with others about what matters most in life. … In assessing and cultivating shared values, we lay the necessary foundation for effective action.

Gretchen Daily, in ‘Shared, Plural and Cultural Values: Handbook for Decision Makers’.