OECD Insights

1993-6753 (online)
1993-6745 (print)
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OECD Insights are a series of reader-friendly books that use OECD analysis and data to introduce some of today’s most pressing social and economic issues. They are written for the non-specialist reader, including interested laypeople, older high-school students and university freshmen. The books use straightforward language, avoid technical terms, and illustrate theory with real-world examples. They also feature statistics drawn from the OECD’s unique collection of internationally comparable data. Online, you can find a number of special features to enhance each book’s educational potential.

Also available in French, German, Spanish
Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

Linking Economy, Society, Environment You or your institution have access to this content

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  • http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/012008121f1.epub
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Tracey Strange, Anne Bayley
02 Dec 2008
9789264107090 (EPUB) ; 9789264055742 (PDF) ;9789264047785(print)

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This book takes a careful look at the concept of sustainable development. What does it mean? How is it affected by production, consumption and globalisation? How it can be measured, and what can be done to promote it? The OECD produces data, research and policy recommendations on many issues related to sustainable development, including climate change, co-operation with developing countries and corporate social responsibility. OECD Insights: Sustainable Development draws on that expertise. It argues that to be sustainable, development has to be based on progress in three areas at once: the economy, society and the environment.

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  • Foreword
    Since the Brundtland Commission published its landmark report in 1987, we have come a long way in our reflfl ections on sustainable development. Few would dispute its fundamental principles: that our actions must take into account effects on the environment, economy and society, and that what we do today should not compromise the well-being of future generations.
  • At the Crossroads
    Life depends on a complex set of interactions between people, the natural environment and economic systems. The unprecedented growth seen during the 20th century has affected these relationships in both positive and negative ways. Record levels of pollution have put great stress on the environment. Economic growth has created immense wealth in some areas of the globe, but left others behind. Understanding the essential elements that support healthy societies and a healthy planet is an urgent need for people and their governments.
  • What is Sustainable Development?
    It is impossible to know precisely what the consequences of unchecked or badly managed development will be, but we have enough information to understand that they are potentially negative, costly and irreversible. Sustainable development gives us a new way of thinking through and managing human impact on the world – one that can generate long-lasting positive results for the greater benefi t of human societies.
  • Challenges of a Global World
    In today’s interdependent world, economic trends that start in one country affect many others, and national economies are affected by the internationalisation of production and international trade. Resource management, pollution control and climate phenomena are all issues that by their nature reach beyond geographic borders, making the challenges of sustainability a priority shared by countries and communities everywhere.
  • The Future Is Now
    Our world is showing signs of reaching critical thresholds in all of its major systems. Striking a balance between the needs and resources of today and tomorrow poses tough choices. What tools can help us decide how best to manage our systems for the long term?
  • Production and Consumption
    Sustainable development is about making better choices as producers and consumers – choices that do not use up our resources or create consequences that we literally can’t live with. To make good choices we have to know something about the products and processes we use on a daily basis. Governments and businesses must work together to make sustainable choices available and more visible to consumers. People need incentives including information and education to begin consuming sustainably.
  • Measuring Sustainability
    Meeting today’s and tomorrow’s needs requires knowing what we have, what we consume, what will remain and what can be regenerated or replaced. Accurate measurements and accounting of our natural, social and economic capital are essential to moving forward on a sustainable path.
  • Government and Civil Society
    How do societies change or evolve? Whether the means to solve problems on a global scale come through technological innovation, changing consumption patterns or providing access to important services, progress depends on the complex interactions of people, businesses, NGOs and government. Learning to co-ordinate these is key to making real gains in sustainable development.
  • References
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