How Do We Achieve Sustainable Economic Development for the World's Poor?

Greening Poverty

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Over the last few decades, the corporate sector has had phenomenal success in converting natural resources into wealth, producing ever-growing economies and improving living standards in many countries. Unfortunately, this growth has only applied to one third of the world’s population, with the remaining two thirds continuing to experience poverty and hardship.

Along the way this massive transformation of resources into goods and services has used so much of the world’s natural resources and caused so much environmental degradation and waste, that the living standards we take for granted and people in developing countries yearn for, may be difficult to sustain.

For the world’s poor, the consequences are dire. With growing deserts, forest disappearing and a significantly increased number of extreme weather events, and agricultural land lost to ever-expanding cities, it is difficult to grow food, leading to increased malnutrition and death. And other basic needs such as shelter, clothing and a means to earn a living, are increasingly difficult to come by.

Countries have a right to develop, but if Africa and South East Asia pursue the growth model of China or India, what will happen to the world’s climate and our ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs?

What is the answer? How do we bring about sustainable economic development? How can corporate leadership make a difference to the developing world through supporting a green economy?

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  • Venue The National Library of Australia, Canberra,
  • Date & time 15/06/2011 6:00:00 PM