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Sustainable Business: Are We Heading in the Right Direction?

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  • Don Clifton

    ()
    (International Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia, City West Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, South Australia)

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    Abstract

    This paper questions why, despite the sustainable development concept having been prominent at an international level for well over 20 years, there is little to show by way of a transition to a sustainable world. Instead, in many ways, the situation is deteriorating. The paper critiques the mainstream sustainable development approach as advocated by business, and as is prominent in the political sphere, to consider if this is itself a key problem. The paper concludes that it is. Rather than helping society achieve needed change, this approach can create 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, the paper proposes that the very act of pursuing mainstream sustainable development makes a sustainable world harder to achieve. A way forward for the business sector is proposed by it embracing a more transformational sustainable world approach in both its internal activities and in its advocacy in the broader public and political space.

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    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/4/586/pdf
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    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/4/586/
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 586-603

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:586-603:d:17124

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    Web page: http://www.mdpi.com/

    Related research

    Keywords: sustainable world; sustainable development; reformist; transformational; ecological footprint; I = PAT;

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    1. Keith Pezzoli, 1997. "Sustainable Development: A Transdisciplinary Overview of the Literature," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 549-574.
    2. Kitzes, Justin & Galli, Alessandro & Bagliani, Marco & Barrett, John & Dige, Gorm & Ede, Sharon & Erb, Karlheinz & Giljum, Stefan & Haberl, Helmut & Hails, Chris & Jolia-Ferrier, Laurent & Jungwirth, , 2009. "A research agenda for improving national Ecological Footprint accounts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1991-2007, May.
    3. Peter Nijkamp & Emilia Rossi & Gabriella Vindigni, 2004. "Ecological Footprints in Plural: A Meta-analytic Comparison of Empirical Results," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(7), pages 747-765.
    4. York, Richard & Rosa, Eugene A. & Dietz, Thomas, 2003. "STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 351-365, October.
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