Business And The Environment Essay

1494 words - 6 pages

Introduction:Business as usual is not an option. The continuing degradation of our natural resources and the impoverishment of large segments of the world's population are placing our security, and that of future generations, at risk. To be more sustainable, development must improve economic efficiency, protect ecological systems, and enhance the well-being of all peoples.Definition:Sustainable development means different things to different people, but the most frequently quoted definition is from the report Our Common Future"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."Sustainable development focuses on improving the quality of life for all of the Earth's citizens without increasing the use of natural resources beyond the capacity of the environment to supply them indefinitely. It requires an understanding that inaction has consequences and that we must find innovative ways to change institutional structures and influence individual behaviour. It is about taking action, changing policy and practice at all levels, from the individual to the international.Sustainable development is not a new idea. Many cultures over the course of human history have recognized the need for harmony between the environment, society and economy. What is new is an articulation of these ideas in the context of a global industrial and information society.Critical Actions:Around the world we see signs of severe stress on our interlocked global economic, environmental and social systems. Already we are faced with full-scale emergencies through freshwater shortages, tropical forest destruction, species extinction, urban air pollution, and climate change.How do we quickly reverse these trends? Revive growthChange the quality of growthMeet essential needs and aspirations for jobs, food, energy, water and sanitationEnsure a sustainable level of populationConserve and enhance the resource baseReorient technology and manage riskInclude and combine environment and economics considerations in decision-makingThese recommendations are as valid today as they were when first written. They are a call to change our actions and to do things differently. In particular, they underscore a need to:Produce differently - apply concepts of eco-efficiency and sustainable livelihoodsConsume differentlyOrganize ourselves differently - increase public participation while reducing corruption and perverse subsidiesWhen taken together, these actions can help orient us on a path toward sustainable development.Produce Differently:Increasing efficiency and reusing materials will play important roles in achieving sustainable development. Eco-efficient companies and industries must deliver competitively priced goods and services that improve peoples' quality of life, while reducing ecological impacts and resource-use intensity to a level within the Earth's carrying capacity.- reducing the scale of...

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