Sector Definitions of Sustainable Development

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Definitions of sustainable development for specific industries and professions  provide helpful guidelines

Building and Construction

Fairtrade (Source: Fairtrade web site)

Coffee, tea and chocolate are consumed in large quantities in developed countries, mostly with temperate climates, but grown by developing countries in warmer climates. The value of these crops remain much the same as they were in the 1950s, but the cost of fertilisers, pesticides and machinery, imported from the rich countries has increased substantially. Sometimes farmers have to sell at prices that do not cover their production costs, resulting in massive debts for millions.

To counter this trend, development agencies buy direct from farmers at better prices and market the products through their own worldwide network of shops and catalogues. This has enabled many farmers to recover from their debts without making the consumer pay more for the goods. To get the goods into supermarkets the concept of fairtrade has been developed. If manufacturers buy from registered suppliers they may use the Fairtrade label. Some 17 countries in Europe and north America now sell Fairtrade products such as coffee, drinking chocolate, chocolate bars, orange juice, tea, honey, sugar and bananas.

Fishing (Source: Marine Stewardship Council brochure April 1999)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) answers the question "what is sustainable fishing?" and sets out five steps towards it.

What is sustainable fishing? Five steps to sustainable fishing
Sustainable fishing:
  • allows target fish populations to recover at healthy levels from past depletion
  • maintains and seeks to maximise the ecological health and abundance of marine fish
  • maintains the diversity and structure of the marine eco-system on which it ultimately depends
  • conforms to all local, national and international laws and regulations
  1. After international consultation, the MSC has developed a standard for sustainable fishing (The Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing)
  2. Fisheries can volunteer to be assessed against the standard
  3. Independent bodies will certify whether a fishery complies to MSC's sustainable standard
  4. Companies that process or sell fish from these sustainable fisheries will be able to carry the MSC logo on their fish products
  5. Consumers will be able to buy clearly labelled fish products in the knowledge  that they come from sustainable sources.

Forestry (Source: Forest Stewardship Council web site)

The Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) Principles of Sustainable Forestry can be summarised as:

  1. Compliance with Laws and FSC Principles: respecting national laws, signed international treaties and FSC principles
  2. Tenure and use Rights and Responsibilities: defining, documenting and establishing legally all land use rights
  3. Indigenous Peoples' Rights: recognising and respecting legal and customary rights of of indigenous peoples
  4. Community Relations and Worker's Rights: maintaining and enhancing the long-term social and economic well-being of forest workers and local communities
  5. Benefits from the forest: encouraging the efficient use of the forest's multiple products and services to benefit people, environment & economy
  6. Environmental impact: conserving biological diversity and associated values - soil, water, ecosystems and landscapes
  7. Management plan: keeping up-to-date a written plan that is implemented
  8. Monitoring and assessment: monitoring forest condition, yields, custody, management activities, social and environmental impact - appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operations
  9. Maintenance of Natural Forests: conserving primary forests, well-developed secondary forests and sites of major environmental, social or cultural significance, so that they are not replaced by tree plantations or other land use
  10. Plantations: planning and managing in accordance with FSC Principles and Criteria 1 to 9, to reduce pressure on and restore natural forests.

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Last modified 6 May 1999