‘Sustainable Development’ was introduced into the global lexicon in 1989 with the publication of the IUCN’s World Conservation Strategy. The term was later adopted as the theme of the Brundtland Commission and enshrined in the declaration of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

It continues to gain remarkable currency as a concept, partly because it unites the concerns of a broad range of policy and action groups. So far, the champions of Sustainable Development have focused their efforts on reconciling the perceived conflicts between growth and the environment.

Ecological critiques of dominant economic systems tend to argue that humanity is reaching ‘limits’ or ‘boundaries’, and ‘peaks’ in resources. Such terms imply the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet. From the 1972 Club of Rome report The Limits to Growth to new research on Planetary Boundaries, the interactions between technology use, economic growth and depletion of ecological resources continue to be better understood.

However, there has been very little focus on the human, demographic and social dimensions of sustainability, or on how these impact on the definition, shaping, and measurement of lasting social progress.

About Ashok Khosla

In 1972 Ashok Khosla established and headed the Indian Government’s Office of Environment and was later Director, Infoterra at UNEP. He has been advisor to governments and international agencies and Board member of WWF, IISD, SEI and other bodies.

In 1981, Dr Khosla founded Development Alternatives, a social enterprise that champions sustainable development through the innovation and elivery of technologies for creating rural livelihoods, of methodologies for managing the natural resource base and of designs for effective institutions. In 2002 he was awarded the United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize, in 2004 the Schwab Award for Outstanding Social Entrepreneur and in 2008 the OBE y Queen Elizabeth II.

About Gordon Goodman

Professor Gordon Goodman was the founding director of the Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Stockholm Environment Institute. Against the background of the unique contributions of Gordon Goodman to global environmental issues, a lecture will be held annually in his honour.

Seminar time and place

Friday 28 March 2011, 10:00-11:00

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Beijer Hall, Lilla Frescativägen 4, Stockholm, Sweden.