How Dutch citizens prioritize the social agenda. An analysis of the 2003, 2005 en 2006 surveys

31-07-2007 | Publicatie

Measuring the social agenda for sustainability: a survey-based approach. According to the Social Economic Council of the Netherlands a society becomes more sustainable when consumers and businesses take responsibility for the negative consequences of their activities.

Prioritizing the social agenda

Society becomes more sustainable when consumers and businesses contribute to solving important social issues. The Dutch government (Cabinet Balkenende II) stated that the social agenda for sustainability should be prominent in major policy-making portfolios. This report describes a survey method that can establish the importance that citizens place on social issues. The method applied is a four-stage card sorting survey. This choice allows us to prioritize a large number of issues simultaneously. From the study on the importance of 64 issues, it is found that Dutch citizens in 2006 consider the most important issues to be:

  • the threat of terrorism
  • Dutch old-age provisions
  • combating hunger
  • human rights
  • Dutch health care

Many global issues score high: ten issues out of the top-15 of ranked issues have a global character, five issues have a national character.