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CHAPTER 6 - MANAGING THE ENVIRONMENT > Sustainable development – a critical rol...

Sustainable development – a critical role for businesses

The World Commission on Environment and Development report (commonly known as the Brundtland Commissions Report of 1987) coined the term ‘sustainable development’ and defined it as development ‘that meets this generation’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
The need for sustainability to be at the heart of our thinking is driven by three massive global issues:
• The depletion of the earth’s resources, which has already happened through population growth and patterns of consumption
• The rapid economic growth that is anticipated among the most populated areas of the earth
• The growing problem of climate change.
None of these problems will go away without concerted action to tackle them. The urgent need for action has been underlined by a recent report showing that 30 million people are being affected globally by climate change. As Stern pointed out in his report to the UK government (The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change), the costs of action now are far outweighed by the damage that could be done to the fragile ecostructure that we all depend on.


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