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Sustainable development

Sustainable Development

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indicators in your pocket 2006.

Latest news

18 March 2008

The Sustainable Development Commission has published its 2007 report on Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG). The Government has published its response to the report (on Cabinet Office website).

9 November 2007

Defra has now published its second Sustainable Development Action Plan (PDF 1.3 MB) which sets out our actions until March 2009.

8 March 2007

The Sustainable Procurement Action Plan (PDF on SD website, 1.45 MB) has now been published. The plan responds to the report “Procuring the Future”, which was published last year.

One of the goals the Government has set itself is to become an EU leader in sustainable procurement by 2009 and going carbon neutral by 2012. This new Sustainable Procurement Action Plan seeks to strengthen the commitments made last year, by describing the targets in greater detail and specifically how the Government is going to achieve these goals.


The past 20 years have seen a growing realisation that the current model of development is unsustainable. In other words we are living beyond our means. From the loss of biodiversity with the felling of rainforests or over fishing, to the negative effect our consumption patterns are having on the environment and the climate. Our way of life is placing an increasing burden on the planet - this cannot be sustained.

The increasing stress we put on resources and environmental systems such as water, land and air cannot go on for ever. Especially as the world's population continues to increase and we already see a world where over a billion people live on less than a dollar a day, more than 800 million are malnourished, and over two and a half billion lack access to adequate sanitation.

A widely-used and accepted international definition of sustainable development is: 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' - Globally we are not even meeting the needs of the present let alone considering the needs of future generations.

Unless we start to make real progress toward reconciling these contradictions, we all, wherever we live, face a future that is less certain and less secure than we in the UK have enjoyed over the past fifty years. We need to make a decisive move toward more sustainable development both because it is the right thing to do - and because it is in our own long-term best interests. It offers the best hope for securing the future.

Extract taken from the UK Sustainable development Government website:

Guiding principles of sustainable development

The UK Government, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Administration have agreed upon a set of shared UK principles that provide a basis for sustainable development policy in the UK.

Page last modified: 18 March 2008

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs