IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Sustainability and Sustainable Development: Philosophical Distinctions and Practical Implications

Listed author(s):
  • Donald Charles Hector
  • Carleton Bruin Christensen
  • Jim Petrie
Registered author(s):

    The terms 'sustainability' and 'sustainable development' have become established in the popular vernacular in the 25 years or so since the publication of the report of the Brundtland Commission. Often, 'sustainability' is thought to represent some long-term goal and 'sustainable development' a means or process by which to achieve it. Two fundamental and conflicting philosophical positions underlying these terms are identified. In particular, the commonly held notion that sustainable development can be a pathway to sustainability is challenged, and the expedient view that both terms ultimately serve holistic development is questioned. Furthermore, it is argued that perpetuating the unclear and misleading distinction between the two positions will limit the development of efficacious policy, as it will not resonate with the broadest possible gamut of beliefs and value systems.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: downloads of articles require payment or registration of paid subscription

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 7-28

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev23:ev2301
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev23:ev2301. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Andrew Johnson)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.