Cover Image
close this bookIndustrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development (UNU, 1994, 376 pages)
close this folderPart 3: Further implications
close this folder13. Transfer of clean(er) technologies to developing countries
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentSustainable development
View the documentEnvironmentally sound technology, clean(er) technology
View the documentIndustrial metabolism
View the documentKnowledge and technology transfer
View the documentEndogenous capacity
View the documentCrucial elements of endogenous capacity-building
View the documentInternational cooperation for clean(er) technologies
View the documentConclusions
View the documentTwo case-studies
View the documentReferences
View the documentBibliography

Sustainable development

The World Commission on Environment and Development, in its report (the Brundtland Report), considered sustainable development to be a process of change that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In most industrial countries, environmentally sound development is now a key concept. For most developing countries, the central concern is still development; to them the environment is at best a subsidiary dimension of development.

Ekins (1992) analyses sustainable development by looking at sustainability and development and their interaction. On sustainability he says that in order for economic be environmentally sustainable, certain conditions need to be adhered to concerning the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources, the emission of wastes and associated environmental impacts. These conditions can be defined. The first principle of sustainable development is that these conditions have absolute priority over GNP growth.

Ekins states further that development and GNP growth are not the same thing: "Development is a qualitative improvement, an achievement of potential. GNP growth is a quantitative increase. There are many examples of GNP growth resulting from, or in, maldevelopment." Therefore, the second principle of sustainable development is that "people and societies must be the subjects of their development, its creators and implementors, based on their knowledge and resources, rather than its objects or even its victims." (Ekins, 1992).

Both poverty and affluence have caused environmental impacts in the past and are likely to do so in the future unless increased awareness of the environment is converted into initiatives that address sustainable development from a global point of view.