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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sustainable development

The increasing stress people, businesses and organisations put on resources and environmental systems like water, land and air cannot go on forever. To tackle this challenge, we need to make sure that we live within environmental limits.

How sustainable development informs businesses, organisations and government

Sustainable development influences decision-making within organisations, and can go towards forming principles and business values. Some examples of business values influenced by sustainable development principles could be:

  • providing information to the public in an open and accessible way
  • involving people and communities who are affected by business
  • decisions openly reporting how the business is run
  • taking care of the local environment and the people working for the business

Sustainable development principles can apply to government policies. An example of this could be a government bringing in planning regulations to make sure that new buildings are built in a more eco-friendly way.

Sustainable development is also about being clear and responsible about the use of scientific, and other, evidence. This could mean making information on the levels of pollution readily available, or being open about the effect of carbon emissions.

Businesses have a major role to play in helping protect and enhance the environment and society. The move to a sustainable future also offers opportunities for creating economic growth and job creation.

Sustainable development in the UK

The Government's approach is to mainstream sustainable development so that it is central to the way we make policy, run our buildings and purchase goods and services.

In 2011 the Government published its vision for sustainable development and a package of measures to deliver it through the Green Economy, action to tackle climate change, protecting and enhancing the natural environment, fairness and improving wellbeing and building a Big Society.

Sustainable production and use of products and services

From manufacturing and transport to packaging and use, the everyday things we buy can have a significant impact on the environment. Companies and organisations have a role to play too. 

Our effect on the planet

From the felling of rainforests, which means a loss of biodiversity, to the negative effect consumption is having on the environment and the climate - our way of life is placing an increasing burden on the planet.

More useful links

News and independent comment from the government, civil society and business in SD Scene, a monthly online publication

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