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The use of concepts related to sustainable development in political and strategic documents
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden.
2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Horizon 2020 project Green.eu, as part of the process of building and activating the Innovation for Sustainable Development Network, is undertaking work on clarifying the (operational) meaning of concepts related to sustainable development, green economy, and eco-innovation in different parts of the world, for different stakeholders and in different contexts. This paper is a first attempt to explore how these concepts are used in policy- and strategy-setting contexts, in the expectation that better understanding of commonalties and differences will improve stakeholders’ ability to identify opportunities and mechanisms for collaboration in practice.

This analysis explores this situation through a review of documents produced by different stakeholders in different geographies and contexts, applying a consistent framework to make the conceptual content of a range of policy- and strategy-oriented documents comparable. The framework uses Sustainable Development as the central concept around which political objectives, strategies, processes for change, domains for action, and other related concepts are organized.

Among broad Strategies for sustainable development, Low-Carbon Economy has been the most prevalent, and has the deepest connections to the other strategies. Likewise, in terms of political objectives, climate protection was strongly associated with all the strategies, confirming the apparent link between Low-Carbon Economy and the others. Ecosystem conservation was nearly as prevalent. Taken together, this suggests that the environmental dimension of sustainability is the most important commonality across different strategies.

In terms of overall emphasis on purely economic objectives, no meaningful split is evident between the developed and developing worlds, with poorer countries and richer countries giving economics an equally prominent role in sustainable development. In a keyword-based analysis of international stakeholders, the European Union put more relative emphasis on development as compared to growth than any other stakeholder group.

Developing measurement and metrics for sustainability was more than twice as important as any other process for change in the set of ‘global’ documents reviewed. This appears to be an area where global collaboration is widely expected to add value. In a comparison of international stakeholder groups, business emphasized governance, responsibility, and supply chain management, while civil society emphasized partnership and fossil fuel substitution more than other stakeholders.

The domains for action based on ‘natural assets’ (land use-agriculture-marine/fisheries/aquaculture-forestry-water) were considered almost universally relevant to sustainable development. Energy is unsurprisingly central to many of the documents: only water received comparable priority as a domain for action.

Overall the EU and Brazil seem to have the most similar approach to sustainable development as that which is visible in the ‘Global’ documents. The poorest countries included in the review appear to be the most conceptually isolated, with no obviously strong links (even to each other).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 39 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainability, sustainable development, green economy, eco-innovation, green growth, strategies, typology, taxonomy, concepts
Keyword [sv]
hållbarhet, hållbar utveckling, innovation, grön ekonomi, grön tillväxt
National Category
Political Science Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-28182OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-28182DiVA: diva2:1074638
Projects
Green.eu
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 641974
Available from: 2017-02-15 Created: 2017-02-15 Last updated: 2017-02-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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