Due to the inconsistencies and ambiguities in the definition of sustainable development, when describing this concept, the definition contained in the standards and documents of the United Nations is often used. The advantage of this procedure is that the definition is valid per se and does not need to be further justified. It reads as follows.
Sustainable development of the Earth is development that meets the basic needs of all people and preserves, protects and restores the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem, without endangering the ability to meet the needs of future generations and without exceeding the long-term limits of the Earth’s ecosystem capacity.
What is sustainable development
Using the language of economics, we can say that, in accordance with the idea of sustainable development, society should live taking into account the cost of its decisions.
Sustainable development means that sustainable economic growth leads to increasing social cohesion (including, inter alia, reducing social stratification, equal opportunities, counteracting marginalization and discrimination) and improving the quality of the natural environment, e.g. by limiting the harmful impact of production and consumption on the state of the environment and the protection of natural resources. What is sustainable development:
- Sustainable development has been defined as one that meets the needs of people today without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
- Sustainable development requires a joint effort to build a sustainable and disaster-resistant future for all people in the world and for our planet.
To achieve sustainable development, the consistency of three key elements is necessary: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. They are interconnected, and they are all essential to the well-being of individuals and societies as a whole.
The task of the European Green Deal is to shape EU policy
Eradicating poverty in all its forms is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development. For that to happen, we need to promote sustainable, inclusive and equal economic growth; creating more opportunities for all people and reducing inequalities; enabling the achievement of a basic standard of living, building a fair social development and an inclusive society; and promoting the integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.
The European Green Deal is an action plan of the European Commission with the Sustainable Development Goals in mind. It is related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda developed by the United Nations. The task of the European Green Deal is to shape EU policy in such a way as to skillfully combine sustainable economic development with the well-being of society.
In connection with the adoption of the European Green Deal, it will be necessary to rethink, inter alia, how to finance business ventures, energy policy, how energy transmission works, production methods, consumption patterns, infrastructure, transport, food, agriculture, construction, taxation and benefits.
These issues are considered in the context of the protection of natural ecosystems, the sustainable use of natural resources and the promotion of human health. By acting together, the EU is able to shift its economy and society to a new path towards greater sustainability.
In this process, the EU can use its strong position as a world leader in climate and environmental action, as well as consumer protection and labor rights. Achieving additional emission reductions is a challenge. Huge public investment and greater efforts will be required to redirect private capital to climate and environmental measures.
We must also avoid the trap of becoming dependent on unsustainable practices. The EU must play a leading role in coordinating international efforts to build a coherent financial system that supports sustainable solutions. This initial investment also provides an opportunity to embed a new sustainable and inclusive growth strategy in Europe. The European Green Deal will accelerate and amplify the transformation that is needed in all sectors.
Europe will not be able to achieve the ambitious environmental objectives of the Green Deal on its own. The causes of climate change and biodiversity loss are global and cross-border. The EU can use its influence, expertise and financial resources to mobilize its neighbors and partners to join the efforts towards sustainable development.
Should we pay this debt back?
The EU will continue to lead international efforts in this area and is committed to building alliances with partners who share a similar approach. It also recognizes the need to maintain security of supply and competitiveness, even if other parties are reluctant to act. It might seem that building a green society requires giving up importing goods. Not necessarily. Fair trade can help lift people out of poverty and also better protect the environment.
- Much of the wealth of the people of Europe and North America was acquired through the exploitation of human labor in our former colonies. Should we pay this debt back?
- You can create extensive theories explaining the current direction of world development and the reasons for differences in economic development between different countries.
However, some things are obvious and without such theories. When people work long hours in terrible conditions for meager wages, while companies selling their products are making billions, that’s not fair. Nor is it fair when most of us in the UK can afford to buy more clothes than they can consume, and the prices of the clothes are low because they are made in factories where children work hard. This is our debt to be paid to the Third World. We have a responsibility to make sure that changes.
Their bananas are often cheaper than those sold at the local market
Poverty is not a necessity. Just as it was not the exploitation of children in Britain in the 19th century. It could easily be eradicated in virtually all parts of the world if international trade was conducted more fairly. It would not require a great personal sacrifice. The average UK household throws away food worth £ 400 a year. This is a huge loss!
This is more than the annual income of most families in many developing countries. If we were to end this waste and spend the money saved on fair trade products, that would be one of many things that could be done to improve the fortunes of the producers of the food we eat.
Sainsbury’s hypermarket chain, the third largest in the UK, has shown that it is possible to sell fair trade food at normal prices. Their bananas are often cheaper than those sold at the local market. This is an inspiring example of what a single chain of stores can do while maintaining increased sales and profits. Transnational corporations make huge profits at the expense of food producers, who deserve a fairer distribution of the income generated by the sale of their products.