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  • Open access
  • 88 Reads
Sustainable Business: Are we heading in the right direction?
Published: 01 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Governance & Sustainability
Sustainable development (SustD) – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – has become a major issue of focus for business, government, and society generally, at local, national, and international levels. Evidence abounds of the increasing extent to which the business sector is embracing the SustD concept – the UN Global Compact (, the work of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (, the Equator Principles for the banking sector (, and the increasing uptake of sustainability reporting ( are just a few examples. But the current mainstream SustD narrative, as it is formulated in business and political circles, is only one approach to how humanity might go about living sustainably. But is it the one most likely to see a sustainable world come about? Are we really heading in the right direction? This paper critiques the current dominant SustD approach using socio-ecological resilience theory, and the Ecological Footprint measure in conjunction with the I=PAT identity. It considers current and future Ecological Footprint trends, and how key SustD strategies directed towards human population numbers, economic growth, and technology solutions, interact to progress or retard the achievement of a sustainable world. Socio-ecological resilience theory is used to explore the extent to which mainstream SustD either builds resilient societies and ecosystems, or undermines resilience leaving society vulnerable to broad-scale social and ecosystem collapse. The paper argues that mainstream SustD is challenging to believe as credible. Rather than helping society achieve needed change, this approach instead creates a false sense of progress that acts as a barrier to the more decisive action that is necessary to address the underlying drivers of humanity\'s unsustainable behaviours. Further, some of the core technology strategies advocated by this approach, and on which the business sector focuses its sustainability efforts, are shown to have flow-on effects that can work against the very objectives they seek to achieve. The paper concludes that the business sector has the power and influence to drive needed change, and can do so by embracing a more transformational sustainable world approach in both its internal activities and in its advocacy in the broader public and political space. Although focusing on the business sector, the findings of this critique are equally relevant to other social actors in their pursuit of sustainable world outcomes including governments, religious organisations, educational institutions, NGOs, communities, and individuals. What is needed is for business, political, and community leaders to take a stand and rally together to drive needed change.
  • Open access
  • 105 Reads
How can Behaviour Change Theory Contribute to a Reduce, Re-use and Recycle Approach to Waste Management in the NHS: A Feasibility Study
Published: 02 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
The UK National Health Service (NHS) overall annual carbon emissions is estimated to be around 21 million tonnes; producing 250,000 tonnes of waste a year with 80% of this waste going to landfill. Examples of good practice in addressing sustainability and climate change are found within healthcare. However these require changes in mindset, including values, attitudes, norms and behaviours which are required along with clear definitions of the problems faced in terms of economics, society and culture in order to respond positively to change. Initial investigations of the literature indicate that behaviour change theory may provide a feasible means of achieving constructive changes in clinical waste management; such approaches require further investigation. Aim: This paper describes a feasibility study designed to examine issues that might affect the introduction of a behaviour change strategy improve waste management in a healthcare setting. Methods: Guided by the evidence gained from our systematic review, 25 interviews were carried out with senior managers, clinicians and support staff involved in the management of healthcare waste from a broad range of agencies in South West England. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. Thematic content analysis was conducted in order to identify key issues and actions. Data extraction, coding and analysis was cross checked independently by the four members of the research team. Findings: Initial findings suggest tensions, between Government and local policies, between organisations and individuals, and between the operational requirements of health and safety and maintaining appropriate and ethical patient care.
  • Open access
  • 261 Reads
Materiality Approach in Sustainability Reporting: applications, Dilemmas, and Challenges
Published: 04 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Sustainability Assessment and Policies
Originated from financial reporting context, the concept of materiality has been applied in and contributed to sustainability reporting, by identifying, selecting, and prioritizing sustainability issues with significant impacts. This paper identifies two dilemmas that traditional stakeholder-approach confronts, and then analyzes how materiality-approach delivers advantage by addressing the dilemmas. This paper further observes two challenges for materiality-approach reporting: complexity interrelationship of sustainability issues; and subjectivity in materiality assessment. It argues that the two challenges are inherent and basic concerns for current sustainability accounting. This paper concludes that the road of materiality to sustainability reporting would be advanced with the progress of coping with the challenges. That is, extending our insight on the complex interrelationships of sustainability issues, and on subjectivity in materiality assessment, we would not only embrace a better materiality model to future effective sustainability reporting, but also open a door to view the fundamental theoretical concerns in contemporary sustainability accounting.
  • Open access
  • 214 Reads
Corporate Sustainability Assessment: A Historical Review
Published: 02 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Sustainability Assessment and Policies
The main aim of the review is to build a general understanding about how corporate sustainability researchers propose evaluating corporate sustainability and how the proposed models and frameworks changed over time. The review is done from the perspective of several aspects, focusing on the methods, tools and models proposed for corporate sustainability assessment, noting the business level of evaluation (the company level, a broader industry of value chain level, or a narrower product or process level). Other two aspects of the research were the definition of sustainability in the proposed models with regards to sustainability dimensions, and different empirical studies executed using the theoretical models proposed. The review includes 30 papers, focusing on corporate sustainability evaluation, assessments and measurement, published from 1997 to 2010.
  • Open access
  • 185 Reads
Strategic Corporate Sustainability Management Model
Published: 02 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Governance & Sustainability
The role of businesses in the journey towards society\'s sustainability is very important, as businesses are an integral part of the society, it has the resources, it is fast and can make rapid changes, it knows how to unite the people inside the company for the goals it sets and works with efficiency in mind. Nevertheless, businesses might not have the professionals and the sustainability scientific knowledge to set the sustainability vision, goals and lead the way. Help and assistance is needed from the management scientists proposing user friendly management models, that are scientifically sound and based on the sustainability principles, but at the same time easily understood by the managers, that are business visionaries and business professionals, but not necessarily sustainability professionals and scientists. Based on the critical analysis of existing business sustainability management models and their advantages and disadvantages, an expanded and detailed business sustainability strategic management model is proposed, in which each step of the model is elaborated to make it as business management friendly as possible. The three sustainability dimensions (environmental, social and economic) are expanded in the model adding the political dimension, which is recognized as the overarching dimension, and political criteria are proposed to be used in the journey towards a sustainable society.
  • Open access
  • 114 Reads
Sustainable Practice and Behaviour change in Healthcare Waste Management: A Review of the Literature.
Published: 04 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
The management of waste in the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) has considerable real and potential costs in both financial and environmental terms. Despite discussion within the literature and the publication of strategies to address these costs little evidence is found of attempts to implement a reduce, reuse, recycle (3R) philosophy in NHS waste management. This paper discusses the findings of a literature review on waste management and behavioural change approaches which might aid the implementation of a 3R philosophy in waste management within healthcare settings. The literature indicates the need for an understanding of individuals, including knowledge of their values, attitudes, norms and behaviours in order to enable a positive response to change. Behaviour change theories may provide a framework of achieving constructive changes in waste management. Further research is needed, specifically on the views of stakeholders responsible for the safe management of waste.
  • Open access
  • 79 Reads
The Impact of the FDI Inflow in the "Agriculture and Fishing" Sector of OECD Countries on CO2: Some Empirical Evidence
Published: 10 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Governance & Sustainability
With reference to thirty OECD countries and a time-span of twenty-five years (from 1981 to 2005), we analyse the FDI dynamic in the primary sector and, more specifically, in the "agriculture and fishing" sector to observe whether and how its inflow generates a certain level of environmental impact, which can be proved to be statistically relevant. By referring to available data on pollutant agents such as Carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion, which is considered to be specifically linked to those activities typically run in the considered sector, and FDI inflow per country and per activity sector, we use the econometric technique of panel data analysis. Among the main results of the analysis, we find that the use of CO2 from fuel combustion in the agricultural sector does not generate statistically significant results with regard to the main relationship under investigation (that between FDI inflow in the "agriculture and fishing" sector and the considered pollutant), although some other meaningful and interesting evidences are achieved and discussed.
  • Open access
  • 87 Reads
Past and future effects of socio-economic development on the aquatic environment of Lake Taihu
Published: 03 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
Taihu lake basin is one of the most developed districts in China. In the past 20 years the economy developed very fast. The annual growth rate of GDP reached 11.6%, the rate of urbanization increased by 31% and the gross output value of industry increased 13 times. However, the area for crops and irrigated land decreased constantly. Industrialization, urbanization and agriculture affected the quality of water environment profoundly. In the 90s of 20th century, the length of the river with the quality exceeding the standard raised 23%, and the quality of Taihu lake declined by two grades. In the future, the economic growth rate will stay at about 10%, and the water requirement will increase also the water environment will further deteriorate in near future.
  • Open access
  • 51 Reads
Childless-workless-worthless:Futures and Environments of our Children
Published: 12 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session General and Related Topics
In Europe decreasing birthrates (and ageing) and diminishing classical work employmentrates (esp. for the youth)seem to destabilise, even devaluate our future and our offspring(esp. young males).The conventional solutions "growth" appear to be more and more restricted structurally: Childlessness as consequence of womens good education, employment and contraception appears hardly reversible.Joblessness too is structurally driven by innovation, capitalisation and globalisation. Worthless, even ill feel our European children (esp sons), if thus they grow up isolated with psycho-social disturbances, marginalised from work, economics and ploitics and overburdened by debts, financial and environmental crises."Radical losers" (Enzensberger 2006) like they should cause fear (thus change) similarily to that from from other (islamic, poor, over-)populations.Other fears:f.i. of( self) extinction, of (islamic) colonisation, of (economical)pauperisation or loss of (material) power lead to the standard answer: Growth! Nevertheless environmemnt , sustainibility and posterity would profit most from these "natural" trends to schrinking population, work and consumption.
  • Open access
  • 83 Reads
Can better government alone solve water resources related problems?
Published: 02 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Governance & Sustainability
Since early 1990\'s the water management problems has been identified as outcome of the inappropriate governance rather than lack of the technological or technical solutions. Therefore, solutions has been shaped by this believe and concept. IWRM have emerged as a mainstream concept to solve the water management problems of the planet earth. Although, supported by many international organizations specially crafted to support the IWRM its implementation and results has been hesitantly limited. Both, at national and local levels of the water resources management dissemination of the new concept brought acceptance of the terms such as stakeholder participation, public role, transparency of decision making, etc. The water users participation concepts in the water sector has been a cornerstone of the IWRM implementation in most of the countries around the world. Genuine efforts of the national water agencies, strongly supported by international agencies have been helpless in many cases to address simple needs of the population- an equal access to the acceptable quality water resources. Why so? There are quite few reasons of the limited performance of the governance reforms in water sector: (i) governance reforms alone cannot solve water management problems, (ii) governance forms are different in different socio-political contexts of the different countries, ignorance of these differences has been one central reason of low performance, (iii) governance could become important aspect only if awareness is built among both water managers and water users, (iv) governance cannot be imported or "blue print" approach is not successful. The critical assessment of the IWRM implementation in different countries has been quite a comprehensive and varies on their findings on reasons of the failures. However, mostly underlining reasons has been identified as lack of ownership, participation, supportive environment, etc. However, without technological solutions and technical infrastructure, tools and equipment have also an important role on how IWRM will be implemented. Implementation of the good governance, water user\'s participation and better decision making are merely possible in the poor, inadequate infrastructure with outdated water distribution systems. Therefore, one cannot ignore the role of the techno-technical situation in the water resources management and these indictors will shape state of the water governance in the water management. Different players (water managers, water users, state organizations, private business, etc.,) will apply different \'water control\' mechanisms under different techno-technological situation. In this paper authors will try to present other important reason for the failure of the IWRM implementation in developing countries- technical and technological state of the water infrastructure.