What Next for Sustainable Development?
Show Less

What Next for Sustainable Development?

Our Common Future at Thirty

Edited by James Meadowcroft, David Banister, Erling Holden, Oluf Langhelle, Kristin Linnerud and Geoffrey Gilpin

This book examines the international experience with sustainable development since the concept was brought to world-wide attention in Our Common Future, the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds engage with three critical themes: negotiating environmental limits; equity, environment and development; and transitions and transformations. In light of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, they ask what lies ahead for sustainable development.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 3: A normative model of sustainable development: how do countries comply?

Kristin Linnerud, Erling Holden, Geoffrey Gilpin and Morten Simonsen


This chapter claims that sustainable development is an ethical statement, on a par with human rights. Based on Our Common Future, the authors derive three equally important moral imperatives: satisfying human needs, ensuring social justice, and respecting environmental limits. They develop a normative model for sustainable development by linking the imperatives to six themes, selecting indicators and assigning thresholds that must be met. The authors argue that the themes can come neither from short-term political consensus nor from parochial stakeholder preferences. Rather, they must come from the moral imperatives of sustainable development and from theories fundamental to understanding those imperatives. The chapter uses data for 117 countries and applies a cluster analysis to illustrate how different groups of countries face different challenges. Meeting one threshold may make it harder to meet another, and the analysis focuses on identifying countries that have managed to reconcile these trade-offs in a good way.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.