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Sustainable Development

Thu, 08 August 2002

Sustainable development (SD). Have you heard of it? Do you know what it is exactly? This section is intended to help you find out.
Sustainable development as a concept has been around for many years, but came to the notice of the majority in the 1980’s, when the World Commission on Environment and Development produced a report entitled ‘Our common future’, more widely known as ‘The Brundtland Report’.
This report gave the world the now generally accepted definition of sustainable development, which is to say that it: ‘…meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. In simple terms, then, sustainable development means using what you’ve got without ever using it up. It means having fun and being comfortable today in such a way that you can still have fun and be comfortable tomorrow.
Sustainable development is about ensuring a better quality of life for all, now and in the future. It is to do with economic growth achieved whilst protecting the environment, and making the benefits available to everyone. It follows that sustainable development is an issue for everyone, not just for major corporations. Small businesses have a crucial role to play.
By now you may well be thinking, hang on a minute, I’ve got enough to think about just getting my business going without this as well - and what about the cost involved!
However, no business, no matter how large or small, can afford to ignore public concern about the environment. Concern is growing, as are the expectations the public has of businesses, both large and small, to provide products and services that are less harmful to the environment. People are more educated about science and nature: the media has made a whole generation aware of the problems facing the planet.

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