Executive Summary

Home Site map What's new

This summary gives a brief overview of the web site

This site is a free contribution by Colin Hutchinson and Associates to applying sustainable development (SD) in practice. A site map explains the layout and regular visitors can see what's new at a glance on each visit. The agenda for change and a simple model of SD is set out on that page. The site focuses on the social and cultural aspects of change without which sustainable development is unattainable. The site helps people to earn about applying sustainable development at home, at work and in their community and helps organisations of every kind to move towards sustainability.

Initially people and organisations find ways to use resources more efficiently, energy less wastefully, travel more wisely and cut pollution. This makes good economic sense and helps the environment but does not go far enough. The next step for many organisations is to introduce management systems, which are then integrated with the mainline organisational purpose. In due course some organisations use the term sustainable development in their Annual Report or their Corporate Environmental Report (CER), thereby signalling an intention to move towards sustainability. It is not always realised that this constitutes a step change with enormous implications. To create a sustainable enterprise requires a review of corporate governance, resource usage, social and ethical responsibilities, stakeholder involvement, community investment, re-thinking business strategy and transforming the entire organisation. A key element is the re-education of people at all levels because behaviour needs to change and a new organisation culture is required. This transformation takes time, needs careful planning and committed persistence, but is essential for lasting success.

Taking initiatives

The agenda for change page outlines the agenda for every level from international agreements to individual action - all of which have a part to play. The page on challenging situations helps people realise that others face similar problems to their own and that people are available to help to overcome obstacles to change. Practical examples illustrate what can be and is being done by organisations of every kind and community development shows how initiatives are being taken locally. There are over 40 specialists listed among the skilled people who are actively involved with implementing sustainable development in many different ways; they could help you and can be contacted direct by email. The final page in this section, Living Lightly, shows what you could do.

Making change happen

To move from an unsustainable to a sustainable social, social, economic and environmental transformation is needed. This section briefly explains some useful models for change and the kind of leadership that is most appropriate. Fundamental changes in human behaviour and cultural norms have been achieved in the past and we can learn from experiences as explained on the profound changes page. The page on environmental management gives a simple three stage approach to this subject. The ethical investment page summarises this subject with evidence to indicate that companies face no penalties for being ethical and those investing their money need not expect lower performance. The secrets of success page shares valuable insights about how to make a lasting difference. The page on The Natural Step provides a framework that several business are now using as a practical approach to identify what they do, what needs to be changed and how this might be done. The section concludes with a page on inspiring quotations.

Finding information

There are many sources of useful information about sustainable development and this section includes pages on threats and opportunitiesfrequently asked questions about SD, relevant books and publications and organisations which offer specialist help on different aspects of this vast subject. The page on routes to sustainability describes major sources of professional support being offered to help large and small organisations find their own imaginative solutions. From this page there is access to three more specific pages: Companies and SD, Projects illustrating SD and Guidelines on SD. In October 1999 another page was added, accessible from 'Companies and SD', which provides extracts of statements made by some companies on how they view sustainable development, what this means for their values, principles and policies and how they are approaching the the need for change.

The information section widens the scope of the web site to provide learning opportunities about SD and shares ideas that may prove inspirational for others. Finally the page on A to Z of SD uses key words to lead the visitor to many other web sites that provide relevant information. The A to Z of SD page is being used by people to widen their understanding and to appreciate the enormous scope for learning provided by the world wide web.

Visitors comments

Site visitors have made several encouraging comments on the site such as:

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Last modified 28 October 1999