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Special Issue "Sustainability: An Impossible Future?"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2009)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Hilary Tovey

Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, 1-3 Foster Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nature-society relations and dynamics; food and rural development; social movements around environmental and food issues; knowledge use and knowledge dynamics in sustainable development policies and projects; natural resources management and history; animal-human relations

Special Issue Information

Sustainable Development is widely seen as the only possible solution to current environmental crises. But is it a likely outcome in the current era of capitalist globalisation? What needs to change in the contemporary social order for sustainable development to be realised? What cultural, social or political forces are available to support such changes?

Keywords

  • interrelationships between society and nature
  • resource use, extraction
  • economic globalisation
  • Brundtland commission
  • environmental NGOs and movements

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle “Triple Bottom Line” as “Sustainable Corporate Performance”: A Proposition for the Future
Sustainability 2010, 2(5), 1345-1360; doi:10.3390/su2051345
Received: 5 March 2010 / Revised: 21 April 2010 / Accepted: 27 April 2010 / Published: 11 May 2010
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (203 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Based upon a review of corporate performance, corporate financial performance and corporate social performance, we propose that the concept of “triple bottom line” (TBL) as “sustainable corporate performance” (SCP) should consist of three measurement elements, namely: (i) financial, (ii) social and (iii) environmental.
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Based upon a review of corporate performance, corporate financial performance and corporate social performance, we propose that the concept of “triple bottom line” (TBL) as “sustainable corporate performance” (SCP) should consist of three measurement elements, namely: (i) financial, (ii) social and (iii) environmental. TBL as SCP is proposed to be derived from the interface between them. We also propose that the content of each of these measurement elements may vary across contexts and over time. Furthermore, TBL as SCR should be interpreted to be a relative concept that is dynamic and iterative. Continuous monitoring needs to be performed, adapting the content of the measurement elements to changes that evolve across contexts and over time in the marketplace and society. TBL as SCP may be seen as a function of time and context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)
Open AccessArticle Eco-nomics: Are the Planet-Unfriendly Features of Capitalism Barriers to Sustainability?
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 127-144; doi:10.3390/su2010127
Received: 1 December 2009 / Accepted: 4 January 2010 / Published: 6 January 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper argues that there are essential features of capitalist modes of production, consumption, and waste dispersal in interaction with the environment and its built-in systemic features that contradict long-term sustainable development. These features include: (a) contradictions in the origin and meaning of
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This paper argues that there are essential features of capitalist modes of production, consumption, and waste dispersal in interaction with the environment and its built-in systemic features that contradict long-term sustainable development. These features include: (a) contradictions in the origin and meaning of sustainability; (b) the central role of the productivity ethic in capitalism and its reproduction in emergent green capitalism; (c) the commodification of nature and the continued promotion of expanding consumption; (d) globalism and the contradictions of continued Western-style development; and (e) the emergence of anthropogenic ecocrises and crises interaction. In light of these barriers to capitalist sustainability, an alternative social narrative is needed, one that embraces values, understandings, and relationships that promote ecological stability and justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Agriculture in the United States: A Critical Examination of a Contested Process
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 48-72; doi:10.3390/su2010048
Received: 30 October 2009 / Accepted: 22 December 2009 / Published: 28 December 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigates the political economy of the development of sustainable agriculture programs and initiatives in the United States. Sustainable agriculture emerged as part of a growing critique of the negative environmental consequences of unquestioned modern farming methods. The USDA/Sustainable Agriculture Research Education
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This paper investigates the political economy of the development of sustainable agriculture programs and initiatives in the United States. Sustainable agriculture emerged as part of a growing critique of the negative environmental consequences of unquestioned modern farming methods. The USDA/Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Program created in 1990 and the National Organics Program created in 2002 are the current government-sponsored programs in support of sustainable agriculture. Recently, private approaches to develop a national sustainable agriculture standard for the U.S. have emerged. The events of the cases developed in the paper reveal that because the concept of sustainability is deeply contested, agribusiness is able to exploit the ambiguity surrounding the definition of sustainable and exercise power in attempts to frame sustainable agriculture in their favor. Most recently, this contested process has focused on whether genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) will be included as part of the national sustainable agriculture standard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)
Open AccessArticle Economy and Sustainability—How Economic Integration Stimulates Stringent Environmental Regulations
Sustainability 2009, 1(4), 1305-1322; doi:10.3390/su1041305
Received: 10 October 2009 / Accepted: 10 December 2009 / Published: 15 December 2009
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The interaction between economic integration and environmental policy has become an important issue in the last few years. Despite the considerable scholarly attention this topic attracted, actual government responses in terms of environmental policy outputs remain largely untouched by both theoretical and empirical
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The interaction between economic integration and environmental policy has become an important issue in the last few years. Despite the considerable scholarly attention this topic attracted, actual government responses in terms of environmental policy outputs remain largely untouched by both theoretical and empirical work. To fill this gap, we suggest a theory-based disaggregation of the compound variable economic integration for deriving more precise expectations on its differential impact on environmental policy arrangements. In doing so, we show that economic integration may indeed trigger the promulgation of more demanding environmental regulations. To illustrate our arguments empirically, we analyze the development of Turkish clean air policy between 1975 and 2005. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)

Review

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Open AccessReview Sustainability between Necessity, Contingency and Impossibility
Sustainability 2009, 1(4), 1388-1411; doi:10.3390/su1041388
Received: 3 November 2009 / Accepted: 7 December 2009 / Published: 16 December 2009
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (661 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable use of natural resources seems necessary to maintain functions and services of eco- and social systems in the long run. Efforts in policy and science for sustainable development have shown the splintering of local, national and global strategies. Sustainability becomes contingent and
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Sustainable use of natural resources seems necessary to maintain functions and services of eco- and social systems in the long run. Efforts in policy and science for sustainable development have shown the splintering of local, national and global strategies. Sustainability becomes contingent and insecure with the actors´ conflicting knowledge, interests and aims, and seems even impossible through the “rebound”-effect. To make short and long term requirements of sustainability coherent requires critical, comparative and theoretical analysis of the problems met. For this purpose important concepts and theories are discussed in this review of recent interdisciplinary literature about resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)

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