Sustainable Development

HECOS for Ethics as a project and as a network is deep-rooted in a Sustainable Development conceptual and political framework. The Sustainable Development (SD) definition goes back to the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development: "Sustainable Development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (cit in Ebner, D. and Baumgartner, R., 2006). This definition raises two main concepts. On one hand the concept of ‘needs’, from all the population in the world, and on the other the concept of "environment limits". Forty years after “The Club of Roma” report on “The limits to growth” we have a new / old question: how can we grow within environmental limits? How to achieve in the future the world’s needs? It still depends on how well are social, economic, and environmental objectives or needs balanced when we make decisions today.

According to the Renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy adopted by the European Council on 15/16 June 2006: “Sustainable development means that the needs of the present generation should be met (...) It is about safeguarding the earth's capacity to support life in all its diversity and is based on the principles of democracy, gender equality, solidarity, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights, including freedom and equal opportunities for all.” Aiming towards “continuous improvement of the quality of life and well-being on Earth for present and future generations” the Strategy support the idea that SD should foster the economy in order to ensure “full employment and a high level of education, health protection, social and territorial cohesion and environmental protection in a peaceful and secure world, respecting cultural diversity without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”.

From an Ethical perspective Sustainable Development is “(...) ethically founded response to a worldwide process in which not only research is increasingly carried out on the basis of private and economic interests but where these interests are also shaping the profile of academically educated young people” (Altner and Michelsen, 2005 cit. in Barth et al, 2007).

Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

For the past 40 years a big effort has been made to push for SD in international agendas and to raise awareness and proactive attitudes to create a global conscious on this matter. In 2015, at the United Nations, the world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. The Goals and targets will stimulate action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership (UN, 2015).

Sustainable Development Goals

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere;
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture;
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages;
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all;
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all;
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all;
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation;
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries;
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable;
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns;
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development;
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss;
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

To achieve these goals civil society, governments, international organizations, etc., must be committed and engaged. HECOS for Ethics approach is to make the proposal that companies, NGOs, and training providers (including Universities) work together to fulfill the SDG from Corporate Social Responsibility practices.

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OIKOS ONLUS – Organization for International KOoperation and Solidarity

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