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Entries tagged with ‘Sustainable Development’

Ethos founded in Brazil

Ethos is a not-for-profit organization, founded in Brazil in 1998 by a group of businessmen and executives from the private sector. Ethos clusters knowledge management, exchange of experiences and tools development to support firms to analyze their management practices and set commitments toward social responsibility and sustainability.

Ethos became a reference in Brazil for CSR and sustainability, building awareness and being a key player in making sustainability a mainstream topic in the news media and closer to individuals.

The mission of Ethos is to ‘mobilise, sensitise, and support firms to manage their businesses in a socially-responsible way, towards the construction of a more just and sustainable society’. The Ethos Institute ‘develops, organises, and adapts materials on Tools for Business Management to keep them up to date and relevant to issues of global and national Corporate Social Responsibility.’ Tools include instruments for self-evaluation and learning, developed to meet the needs of firms at different stages of management, but primarily for internal use in diagnosis, planning and implementation, as well as benchmarking for the evaluation process.

The basic tools include Best Practices Bank, Social Accountability Guide, Compatibility Guide, Ethos Indicators, Contextualising tools, Matrix of Essential Criteria, Evidence Matrix, Sustainability Reporting.

Timeline entry contributed by Carolina de Andrade

Happy Planet Index

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an index of human well-being and environmental impact that was introduced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in July 2006.

The index is designed to challenge well-established indices of countries’ development, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI), which are seen as not taking sustainability into account. In particular, GDP is seen as inappropriate, as the usual ultimate aim of most people is not to be rich, but to be happy and healthy. Furthermore, it is believed that the notion of sustainable development requires a measure of the environmental costs of pursuing those goals.

The HPI is based on general utilitarian principles — that most people want to live long and fulfilling lives, and the country which is doing the best is the one that allows its citizens to do so, whilst avoiding infringing on the opportunity of future people and people in other countries to do the same. In effect it operationalises the IUCN’s (World Conservation Union) call for a metric capable of measuring ‘the production of human well-being (not necessarily material goods) per unit of extraction of or imposition upon nature’. Human well-being is operationalised as Happy Life Years. Extraction of or imposition upon nature is proxied for using the ecological footprint per capita, which attempts to estimate the amount of natural resources required to sustain a given country’s lifestyle. A country with a large per capita ecological footprint uses more than its fair share of resources, both by drawing resources from other countries, and also by causing permanent damage to the planet which will impact future generations.

Those who sign on to the Happy Planet Charter believe that:

“- A new narrative of progress is required for the twenty-first century.

– It is possible to have a good life without costing the Earth.

– Over-consumption in rich countries represents one of the key barriers to sustainable well-being worldwide and that governments should strive to identify economic models that do not rely on constantly growing consumption to achieve stability and prosperity.

They call for:

– Governments to measure people’s well-being and environmental impact in a consistent and regular way, and to develop a framework of national accounts that considers the interaction between the two so as to guide us towards sustainable well-being.

– Developed nations to set an HPI target of 89 by 2050 – this means reducing per capita footprint to 1.7 gha, increasing mean life satisfaction to eight (on a scale of 0 to 10) and continuing to increase mean life expectancy to reach 87 years.

– Developed nations and the international community to support developing nations in achieving the same target by 2070.”

Timeline entry contributed by Andrew Mailing

The World Conservation Strategy

The World Conservation Strategy was published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 1980. Its main objectives are:
(a) to maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems,
(b) to preserve genetic diversity, and
(c) to ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems.

It is said that the concept of ‘sustainable development’ first appeared in the WCS. This document stresses the importance of development within “the reality of resource limitation and the carrying capacities of ecosystems.” While the Brundtland report (1987), which proffers the famous definition of sustainable development, has a strong concentration on the satisfaction of human needs, the WCS is primarily concerned with ecological sustainability. Since the publication of the WCS, many countries have prepared national conservation strategies. Also the concept of conservation of genetic diversity influenced formulation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992).

Among the priorities for national action that the WCS identifies are ‘improving the capacity to manage’ both in terms of ‘legislation and organisation’ and also ‘training and research’.

Timeline entry contributed by Ai Kaibu

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

The Stern Review is a 700-page report released for the British Government in 2006, led by economist Nicholas Stern, on the economics of mitigating and adapting to climate change. This was the first serious attempt by any government to try to quantify in monetary terms the impacts of climate change.
The report concludes that global climate change is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen, and that the potential risk is so great that the benefits of strong, early action far outweigh the costs.
The report sparked widespread public debate and interest into the potential economic magnitude of anthropogenic climate change.

Timeline entry contributed by Emily Cox

Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development founded

Founded in 1991 as a response to the dramatic political changes in the region, the Environmental Partnership for Central Europe (as it was first called) initially aimed to identify key environmental issues and goals within the regions, for which US-based private foundations could provide financial and technical support.

Moving from the Soviet regime and intense industrial production for economic growth towards the more Westernised goals for Sustainable Development provided a large ideological shift, so the goal for the EPCE was to support NGOs and governments while also encouraging grassroots civil engagement with the global sustainability agenda at both the local, community-based level and the broader cross-border level.

Today the EPSD functions as a consortium of national organisations that have awarded grants of around a total of €20 million across over 8,000 initiatives in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. While these projects target many areas of environmental protection – for example NGO capacity building, organic agriculture and biodiversity protection – their flagship project is the Central European Greenways project which promotes sustainable transport alongside local economic needs and community engagement. These national foundations are the largest source of private investment for sustainable development in the region and continue to support both governments and individuals in meeting and developing their sustainability goals.

Further programs of the EPSD include Schools for Sustainable Development and Alternative Energy including monitoring, information and debate on the risks of nuclear energy.

Timeline entry contributed by Sam Rush

Source: EPSD website

World Business Council for Sustainable Development established

The Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) was founded as a corporate lobby group for Rio Earth Summit in 1990 and merged with the World Industry Council on the Environment (WICE) into the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in1995 (Clapp & Dauvergne, 2005).

WBCSD is global association dealing exclusively with business and sustainability and consists of world leading companies such as Toyota, GE, Posco, Shell, BP and so on (WBCSD, 2010).

It is based on market liberalism which believes technology can overcome environmental problems. WBCSD has been actively engaged in global discussions on the environment and development (Clapp & Dauvergne, 2005).

Industry are important actors for promoting innovation, and WBCSD has contributed toward sustainable development. However, the emergence of such strong associations representing the voice of business can also become a menace to global environmental governance.


Clapp, J. & Dauvergne, P. (2005) Path to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment. London, MIT Press.

WBCSD website http://www.wbcsd.org/templates/TemplateWBCSD5/layout.asp?type=p&MenuId=MQ&doOpen=1&ClickMenu=LeftMenu

Entry submitted by Miki Hirose

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