Strategic Goals

Economic Sustainable Development

GPI

Sustainability as a concept has been widely used in recent documents. It began its inception in the late 1980s after the appearance of The Brundtland Report. The UN-convened World Commission on Environment and Development at that time called attention to two important ideas:
The well-being of the environment, of economies and of people is inextricably linked;
 Sustainable development involves cooperation on a global scale.
 
As such the concept of sustainability articulated several critical shifts of perspective in how we relate to the world around us. First, it suggests that the economic, social and environmental aspects of any action are interconnected. And second, problems are rarely contained within predefined jurisdictions such as one government or a single neighbourhood. Therefore at the core of sustainability, there are three pillars to be considered: society, the economy and the environment. Understanding their complex connections and interdependence requires some effort, and the effort has to be constant.  
 
In recent years, governments have mainstreamed the concept and objectives of sustainability into a broad range of policies. For instance, Sustainable Development Strategy of the EU was set-up as a framework for a long-term vision of sustainability in which economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection are mutually supported. The EU economic sustainability focuses on:
 
1) EU Better Regulation agenda – this has been achieved through the simplification of legislation and reduction of administrative burden;
 
2) Employment Guidelines – a part of the European Employment Strategy that provides a framework for the development and implementation of measures that are in line with sustainable strategy goals;
 
3) Corporate Social Responsibility – an opportunity for enterprises to combine economic, social and environmental objectives into their business strategies;
 
4) Member-state agendas – the EU member-states develop innovative solutions that are relevant to the sustainable development strategy. 
 
Economic policy progress has been made in the following fields:
 Sustainable consumption and production
 Education and training
 Research and development
 Financing and economic instruments
 Energy efficiency and sustainable transport
 
To improve the implementation of the EU sustainable development strategy, Eurostat introduced sustainable development indicators. Although the GDP is a major indicator for macroeconomic activity, it does not reflect environmental sustainability and well-being. In 2009, a number of initiatives were taken, such as the Commission Communication “GDP and beyond” and the so-called J. Stiglitz report “The measurement of economic performance and social progress”. The general view is that the society does not properly value natural and human resources and more comprehensive indicators are necessary to take into account social and environmental aspects. The Commission will intensify work in this area and report back on the state with the next Strategy Review (2011).