European Commission Directorate General XI

The Directorate General XI (DGXI), residing within the European Commission, is concerned with both promoting and monitoring the implementation of the Community policies for the environment, nuclear safety, and civil protection. Actions of the DGXI follow the strategy, defined in 1992 by the European Commission Programme of Policy and Action and relate directly to the environment and sustainable development. The DGXI’s mission is aimed at achieving a high level of environmental protection, improving the quality of life, increasing environmental efficiency, preserving the rights of future generations to a viable environment, and ensuring the equitable use of our common environmental resources.

The DGXI’s current action plan aims to reflect the European Community’s overall commitment to sustainable development by installing five basic ‘imperatives’ to be used as the basis for policy and legislation within issues concerning the environment. These imperatives include: integration of environmental considerations into other policy areas (i.e. agriculture, industry, transport, energy, tourism, and regional policy); improved implementation and enforcement of policy legislation; broadening the range of instruments beyond legislation; improving information policies to promote public awareness; and developing a leading role in the international arena.

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BP Amoco

Sustainable development was defined by the World Commission on Environment & Development in 1987 as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

That was 11 years ago. Since then there have been over 100 more definitions. In 1998 the UK government's 'Opportunities for Change' consultation paper emphasised four elements - social progress, effective environmental protection, prudent use of natural resources, and high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

Sustainable development - however defined - has and will have great relevance to future business performance. It's essential that the "triple bottom line" of economic, environmental and social outcomes which defines sustainability be managed as a whole. Focusing on any one at the expense of the others is not sustainable.

Beyond that, there seem to be three main factors at work:

Firstly, population growth and demands for increased wealth - both of which are exerting unprecedented pressures on the planet's social and environmental systems. In the last 50 years global population has doubled and real income has increased by a factor of six. In the next 50 years the global population will grow by at least 60 per cent. To stand still in unit terms, global GDP must also increase by 60 per cent by 2050;

Secondly, globalisation of information, communication, capital markets, goods and services, regulations and even values - all of which stimulates inter-dependence. It erodes sovereignty and the capacity of individual governments to act decisively. It is already affecting everything from financial markets, cultural interests, crime and legislative behaviour to consumer demand, the viability of entire industries and global institutional structure;

And thirdly, growing public anxieties about economic, social and environmental issues, reflected by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society and the media.

There are many ways forward, but certain parameters are clear. The response must be integrated. It must be global. And it must be balanced in terms of social, economic and environmental solutions.

BP Amoco believes that business needs to be part of the solution to the complex questions associated with the sustainable development agenda. We have no wish to be seen as the "problem" or even part of the problem. We need to be engaged on major public policy issues such as climate change, environmental protection and human rights. Today we must show that everything we do, and every product and service we provide, is delivered in an environmentally and socially sound manner.

Businesses everywhere face an increasingly complex set of international conventions, legislation and regulation. They need help in understanding the overall process, and we therefore welcome UNED-UK's initiative in developing the Roadmap. It helps clarify where we are, where we are going, and how to get there. It is not an easy map to follow - there are many diversions for the unwary traveller. But if business is to play its part fully it must be able to engage in the process efficiently and effectively. The Roadmap will be of great value help in this respect. It illuminates the issues - gender, development, environment, population etc. - and provides the layman with clearer insight and an appreciation of the connections, concerns and opportunities that Sustainable Development provides.


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