The Role of Leadership in Government, Business and NGO Performance
Edited by Kees Zoeteman
Chapter 1: Sustainable Development: Taking Responsibility for the Whole
Kees Zoeteman SUMMARY The public debate on societal processes leading to a society developing sustainably intensified after the publication of the Brundtland Commission report in 1987 and has continued to gain momentum until the present day. The concept of sustainable development has been evolving, gradually disclosing its essence of being based on the volition of individual human beings instead of resulting from an enforceable legal prescription. After prospering during an initial phase of global optimism and openness, the concept of sustainable development encountered the challenge of several major global events after 2000, such as the war on terror by the US in 2001 and the financial crisis starting in 2008. While formidable, these challenges have not overcome the evolution of this concept. Market forces favor practices based on sustainable development, as these help to stabilize overall performance. Other drivers of sustainable development include the self-esteem of individual consumers and producers, and the context in which they are addressing sustainable development challenges. Sustainable development follows where leadership is realized by taking one’s own responsibility as part and representative of the whole. Collective arrangements to implement sustainable development practices depend on the degree of such internalized responsibilities of the stakeholders. HOW TO ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT? What is really needed to arrive at a society developing sustainably? Although all kinds of sustainable development goals have been set and implemented, as will be discussed in subsequent chapters, they have never encompassed the full essence of the challenge formulated in the Brundtland Commission report. This...
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