3. Concluding Remarks
A good assessment of sustainability, following the broadly accepted ESG model, requires paying more attention to its human factor: those beliefs, values and attitudes that clearly influence sustainability policies and strategies. It's a need to understand how beliefs determine attitudes and decisions, and so it is important to account for them in the most accurate way, after a detailed study, to assess their effective impact in a range of indicators related to sustainability.
Research into beliefs and the believing process has grown exponentially in the last few years 
. A central point in that program has been to show how believing is unavoidably present in most social systems, such as the economy, politics, education, morals and even science 
. Plans aimed at designing a more sustainable future are not an exception, and so we need to connect the current effort at better understanding beliefs and the policies and concerns for sustainability. The point is that neglecting the human factor in a process will miss an important variable and risk the unfeasibility of current programs. Ours was just a first approach, since the huge amount of published literature on beliefs and believing, their dynamics and functions, requires a more accurate assessment and application to the field of sustainability studies.
The proposed model intends to build on a solid theoretical basis and then move to the practical field, where any assessment becomes a great challenge. As a consequence, we need to design instruments that could offer some approach or a proxy for the relevant beliefs, and which could help to develop more accurate certifications for sustainability in a broad range of organizations, and to establish international rankings based on such beliefs and attitudes.
The undertaken effort knows some difficulties we cannot ignore. The first regards the suggested instrument, still in an exploratory and work-in-progress state. It is not easy to describe which subscales should be integrated and what they want to measure, or to what extent what is measured is really relevant when trying to design sustainable systems. Indeed, some of the pointed criteria could work in an ambiguous or even contradictory way. For instance, locality vs. globality; in some cases, more locally minded attitudes help more towards sustainable goals; in others, they are just disruptive and prevent more sustainable measures. This last case is the movements broadly identified as “not in my back yard” (NIMBY), which often opposes projects that could benefit a big population but harm a local minority. Something similar happens with some traditional uses, which could be positive or negative for some natural and social balances.
The second difficulty has to do with the very subjective nature of beliefs and values, whose assessment becomes very challenging compared with more objective and easier to assess indicators. Indeed, those collecting data through self-assessing questionnaires are used to the limits such an approach presents: many biases are at work, such as social desirability, and even more manipulative strategies, such as instructing staff about filling questionnaires in a more flattering way. It is indeed relatively easy to fake those attempts to obtain true data on subjective means. It's a need to be aware of such limits. In any case, the empirical research developed in recent years means to address such flaws and spot contradictions or biases that could mask the true beliefs and attitudes members of a corporation could hold.
The third difficulty is related to the former: it is not clear what role beliefs, values and attitudes play in a model to assess ESG criteria. Being of subjective nature, but playing probably a big role, such beliefs could weight very much—about 50% in the resulting index—or very little, as less than 10%, compared with other indicators that become more objective and easier to account, such as energetic sustainable production or environmentally friendly waste treatment or transparency and accountability in management.
The point is that, even if the suggested instrument is still in its first steps and imperfect, the described limitations should not dissuade the need to engage on both: first, to integrate human aspects such as beliefs, attitudes and emotions in any sustainability program; second, to build instruments that assist in assessing such human variables and to follow their weight in such programs. In this way, we could integrate aspects which would render a more complete and accurate view on the advances and obstacles in the way to design a more sustainable future for all.