In recent years, the concept of 'sustainability indicators' has become prominent in agricultural science. The idea is that particular characteristics of resources are monitored and recorded, with the intention that this information serves as an aid for decision making by farmers and/or policy makers. A great many sustainability indicators have been proposed by agricultural scientists. However, there is no guidance currently available as to which of the possible sustainability indicators provide information of economic value. In this paper we present a conceptual framework for the economic valuation and prioritisation of sustainability indicators. The framework is based on Bayesian decision theory, particularly its use to calculate the value of information under conditions of uncertainty. We present an illustrative numerical example. Based on this example and the theoretical framework, we identify a number of important insights about the practical use of sustainability indicators. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.