Attributes and Framework for Sustainable Infrastructure

Attributes and Framework for Sustainable Infrastructure


Inter-American Development Bank IDB

Type(s) of Tool

PrinciplesSupport sustainability incorporation at institutional or strategic level, less specific than Guidelines.


Tools applicable to all sectors

Lifecycle Phase(s)

Enabling EnvironmentConditions that enable the integration of sustainability practices (regulation, laws, frameworks etc.)., Strategic PlanningPublic authorities identify the needs and long-term vision for infrastructure development., PrioritizationAuthorities decide which projects to realize and how to allocate resources., Project PlanningGeneral strategy for a project’s delivery is developed., Concept DesignTechnical experts broadly outline the project’s basic characteristics., ProcurementThe provision of goods and services to realize a project are tendered and closed., FinanceDevelopers decide how to pay for their project.

Open Source


Language Availability

English, Spanish

Country of Origin


Date of Development





The Attributes and Framework for Sustainable Infrastructure contributes to developing a shared understanding of the key dimensions and attributes that together define sustainable infrastructure, based on the propositions that sustainability of infrastructure must consider the benefits and costs of investment over the entire lifecycle and that sustainability must be assessed across all relevant dimensions (economic / financial, environmental, social and institutional). The paper then sets out the detailed attributes that constitute the elements of each of these four dimensions.

Tool Outcome

The paper provides a common reference framework for sustainable infrastructure, outlining a comprehensive set of attributes of the four sustainability dimensions, thereby providing a comprehensive framework for assessing the sustainability of infrastructure investments.

Sustainability Criteria

The framework defines the following sub-dimensions of sustainable infrastructure:
– Economic & financial sustainability
– Economic & social returns
– Financial sustainability
– Policy attributes
– Environmental sustainability & climate resilience
– Climate & natural disasters
– Preservation of the natural environment
– Pollution
– Efficient use of resources
– Social sustainability
– Poverty, social impact & engagement with communities
– Human and labor rights
– Cultural preservation
– Institutional sustainability
– Alignment with global & national strategies
– Governance & systemic change
– Effective management systems & accountability
– Capacity building