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Defining Sustainability, Defining the Future
(Released September 2005)

  by Ethan Goffman  


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  1. Reviewing the concept of sustainable development in social discourse/Revisando el concepto de desarrollo sostenible en el discurso social

    Juan Ignacio AragonÚs, Carlos Izurieta and Gonzalo Raposo.

    Psicothema, Vol. 15, No. 2, May 2003, pp. 221-226.

    This study originated as an investigation into what people mean by Sustainable Development. It attempted to discover the dimensions underlying the concept and to find out how these are modified by political beliefs or by ways of relating to nature. To achieve this aim, a content analysis was carried out to analyse 132 definitions of Sustainable Development. Within these definitions, 10 dimensions were observed, among which development and nature and the environment stood out. The study showed that there was a loss of elements among the interviewees with regard to the WCED definition. This suggests that there are communication problems, which affect the expression of what exactly is meant by the concept. Attitudes towards nature affect the way in which this concept is understood, and not the political beliefs of the participants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract )

  2. Talentship, Talent Segmentation, and Sustainability: A New HR Decision Science Paradigm for a New Strategy Definition

    John W. Boudreau and Peter M. Ramstad.

    Human Resource Management.Special The Future of Human Resource Management, Vol. 44, No. 2, Sum 2005, pp. 129-136.

    Two paradigm shifts are discussed here: talentship and sustainability. First, the traditional service-oriented HR focus must be extended to a "decision science" that enhances decisions about human capital. We call this decision science talentship. It includes talent segmentation, or identifying pivotal talent pools where the quality and/or availability of human capital makes the biggest difference to strategic success. Second, HR and business leaders increasingly define organizational effectiveness beyond traditional financial outcomes to encompass sustainability--achieving success today without compromising the needs of the future. A common strategic human capital decision science can reveal pivotal talent under both traditional and sustainability-based definitions, and thus uncover important insights about the talent implications of the shifting definition of strategic success. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract )

  3. Women Have Their Say: The Meaning of Sustainable Development

    Dorothy N. Gamble, Paul Castelloe and Seema Varma.

    Journal of Social Work Research and Evaluation, Vol. 4, No. 1, spring-summer 2003, pp. 121-135.

    A forum that focused on skills, theory, & practice for women in community-sustainable development brought together 131 people from 14 countries to explore these issues. Participants with experience as grassroots leaders/activists, nongovernmental organization representatives, foundation representatives, & scholars explored their ways of knowing & describing sustainable development. Different experiences did not seem to result in very different concepts for describing sustainable development. The authors found similarities across nine components of the definitions from the different experience groups. These components are also congruent with current definitions of sustainable development from the literature. 23 References. Adapted from the source document.

  4. Building capacity and sustainable prevention innovations: A sustainability planning model

    Knowlton Johnson, Carol Hays, Hayden Center and Charlotte Daley.

    Evaluation & Program Planning, Vol. 27, No. 2, May 2004, pp. 135-149.

    This article presents an informed definition of sustainability and an associated planning model for sustaining innovations (pertinent to both infrastructure and interventions) within organizational, community, and state systems. The planning model stems from a systematic review of the literature and from concepts derived from a series of 'think tanks' made up of key substance abuse prevention professionals. The model assumes a five-step process (i.e. assessment, development, implementation, evaluation, and reassessment/modification) and addresses factors known to inhibit efforts to sustain an innovation. One set of factors concerns the capacity of prevention systems to support sustainable innovations. The other pertains to the extent to which a particular innovation is sustainable. A sustainability action strategy is presented that includes goals with corresponding sets of objectives, actions, and results that determine the extent of readiness to sustain an innovation. Sustainability tools to assist in implementing the planning model are illustrated, and next steps for the model are discussed. This planning model provides a conceptual and practical understanding of sustainability that can lead to further investigation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract )

  5. What is sustainable development? Goals, indicators, values and practice

    Environment, Vol. 47, No. 3, April 2005, pp. 8-21.

    Since the term sustainable development was coined, a core set of guiding principles and values has evolved around it. However, its definition remains fluid, allowing institutions, programs of environment and development, and places from local to global to project their own aspirations onto the banner of sustainable development.

  6. Environmental Policy Integration: Towards an Analytical Framework

    William M. Lafferty and Eivind Hovden.

    Environmental Politics, Vol. 12, No. 3, autumn 2003, pp. 1-22.

    Environmental policy integration (EPI) is a key defining feature of sustainable development. Despite the fact that EPI has been the subject of much debate in both academic & policy-making circles, conceptual issues relating to EPI have received relatively little treatment. The conceptual work that has been completed on EPI generally fails to place the concept in an appropriate environmental policy context, & this in turn appears to betray the fact that the concept clearly implies a relatively strong revision of the traditional hierarchy of policy objectives. In this article the authors discuss the origins of the concept & provide conceptual clarification regarding its definition & context. Further, the article derives a simple analytical framework consisting of vertical & horizontal dimensions of EPI, which can serve as a useful point of departure for further empirical work on the implementation of EPI. 1 Figure, 35 References. Adapted from the source document.

  7. Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability: between agency and communion

    Marcel Marrewijk.

    Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 44, No. 2-3, May-Nov 2003, pp. 95-105.

    This paper provides an overview of the contemporary debate on the concepts and definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Sustainability (CS). The conclusions, based on historical perspectives, philosophical analyses, impact of changing contexts and situations and practical considerations, show that 'one solution fits all'-definition for CS(R) should be abandoned, accepting various and more specific definitions matching the development, awareness and ambition levels of organizations.; Reprinted by permission of Springer

  8. Multiple levels of corporate sustainability

    Marcel Marrewijk and Marco Werre.

    Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 44, No. 2-3, May-Nov 2003, pp. 107-119.

    According to Dr. Clare Graves, mankind has developed eight core value systems, as responses to prevailing circumstances. Given different contexts and value systems, a one-solution-fits-all concept of corporate sustainability is not reasonable. Therefore this paper presents various definitions and forms of sustainability, each linked to specific (societal) circumstances and related value systems. A sustainability framework - an essential element of the overall European Corporate Sustainability Framework - is described showing six types of organizations at different developmental stages, with different forms of corporate sustainability, each supported by specific institutional arrangements.; Reprinted by permission of Springer

  9. Women and the Burden of Unsustainable Development: Practice and Policy Contradictions

    Olusola Olufemi.

    Development in Practice, Vol. 14, No. 3, Apr 2004, pp. 428-432.

    The author sets the definitions of environmental development from the 1970s to the 1990s against her personal experiences. Special attention is paid to the idea of sustainable development and women's roles. 10 References. J. Zendejas.

  10. Can the post-apartheid South African city move towards accessibility, equity and sustainability?

    M. J. W. A. Vanderschuren and S. Galaria.

    International Social Science Journal, Vol. 55, No. 2, Jun 2003, pp. 265-277.

    Historically, towns and cities have developed at easily accessible transport nodes to the sea, rivers, or roads. Unfortunately, the macro accessibility of cities that has followed in general was not extended to the micro level. In this paper, transport sustainability is assessed in terms of the following definition: a sustainable city provides mobility for all by creating accessibility of destinations, preferably by slow modes or public transport. The use of the private car is limited, congestion does not exist, and measures are taken if noise pollution occurs. From this perspective, accessibility within cities is often a problem, notably because of the separation between transportation and settlement planning. South Africa reflects this general pattern, which has resulted in unsustainable urban areas, but with the aggravating circumstance of the legacy of apartheid, which the paper explores in detail using the example of Cape Town. In order to give suggestions for the improvement of South African cities, urban spatial theories are described and examples of cities that developed based at least partly on those theories are given. However, European experiences have shown that settlement planning, even based on successful theories such as the corridor or the compact city approach, is not enough. There is a need for integrated settlement and transport planning. South Africa should investigate which additional integrated settlement and transport-planning policies should be put in place to improve the cities and to make them more equitable and sustainable. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract )