The importance of Sustainable Development

Sustainability is of great importance since it is the total efficient and rational administration of all resources, so that it is possible to improve the well-being of today’s society without compromising the quality of life of future generations. One of the main challenges Mexico faces in terms of sustainable development is to include the environment as one of the elements of competitiveness and economic and social development. The link between sustainable development, environmental protection and international trade is very close. The preservation of ecology and scientific advances have become some of the priorities of the members of the international community.

Among the key factors of sustainable development are population growth, energy demand, climate change, scarcity of resources and water, and waste management.

Sustainable development dates back to the 1950s, when concerns about environmental damage caused by the Second World War were germinating. However, it was not until 1987 when the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), chaired by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, presented the report “our common future”, also known as the “Brundtland report”, in which the best known definition of sustainable development is disseminated and coined.

In order to achieve sustainable development, great efforts are required from governments, families and businesses. That is why, they are topics of the international political agenda for the fulfillment of commitments and to evaluate the progress that has been made in this subject.

There is a high degree of complexity in measuring the environmental costs generated by human activity, which limits the precise visualization of environmental degradation. What hinders the measurement of the negative effect it represents and which sectors of the population will directly impact.

The concept of sustainable development is the result of a concentrated action by nations to promote a global economic development model compatible with the conservation of the environment and social equity.

Sustainable Development Goals

There are elements that can be considered to maintain the potential for the use of natural resources for the satisfaction of human needs in the future, such as:

  • Measure the progress of the measures taken to achieve sustainable development, for this, macroeconomic indicators of social and ecological type are used.
  • Generation of indicators to assess whether companies are profitable and at the same time sustainable; An example of this may be the percentage of transport use that does not compromise the environmental future, the percentage of renewable energy they use, the amount of square meters they use and are exploited, among others.
  • Ensure transparency in the generation of information and disseminate it, so that the community takes actions through its purchasing power, benefiting companies that use renewable energy or whose production methods are committed to sustainability.
  • Involve the directly affected and vulnerable population.
  • Encourage, through public investment, those innovations that allow intensifying the use of renewable energy.
  • Promote the use of renewable energy through the use of subsidies.

This definition includes two key concepts:

  • Needs: in particular that of the poorest in the world, to which priority must be given.
  • Limitations: imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the ability of the environment to satisfy present and future needs.

It also implies a concern for social equity between the different generations, a concern that logically must be extended to equity within each generation.

Sustainable development and poverty.

Currently the number of people in developing countries do not have satisfied basic needs, poverty is endemic, nor do they have the opportunity to improve their living conditions. This situation makes the world very prone to humanitarian, economic and ecological crises that affect development, which is why the minimum requirements to achieve sustainable development is to offer them a better quality of life.

Sustainable development and population growth.

The increase in the world population, we are already more than 7,000 million and we will be 9,000 million in 2050, increases the pressure on natural resources and can stop the improvement of living standards in areas where poverty is widespread. Therefore, it is necessary that demographic growth is in balance with the productive capacity of the system.

Sustainable development and technological progress.

Technological advances can solve some problems in the short term but can lead to bigger problems in the long term. On the other hand, technological development can lead to the marginalization of large sectors of the population due to poor planning. In a world of finite resources there cannot be infinite economic growth, but technological development can improve the burden of new existing ones, that is, do more with the same.

Sustainable development and renewable resources.

In general, renewable resources, such as forests and fish populations, will not be depleted as long as the level of use is within the limits of regeneration and natural growth of the ecosystem. Therefore, the effects of the ecosystem must be taken into account in order to maximize the maximum sustainable yield.

Sustainable development and non-renewable resources.

In general, when consuming non-renewable resources, the importance of these in society, the availability of technologies to minimize their depletion, and the probability that there are substitute resources available must be taken into account. This is why consumption of these resources must have an emphasis on recycling and economizing to ensure that resources are not depleted before acceptable substitutes are available.

Benefits of sustainable development

In a context globalized and the existence of a single planet that houses all its inhabitants, implies an urgent need for the benefit of the world population. It is because of that; The decisions that companies, families and governments make in favor of their achievement become important.