Well-being and Sustainable Workplaces

{“Future of the Workplace” project
Providing high quality, modern and sustainable jobs within local and regional government}

Theme n°6

Well-being and Sustainable Workplaces

The Sustainable Development Strategy

The importance of local and regional government in achieving sustainable development was recognised at the Rio earth summit in 1992, which laid the basis for much of what has followed in the field of sustainable development. The Agenda 21 document, which the summit adopted as its plan of action to promote sustainable development, noted that “because so many of the problems and solutions being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local activities, the participation and cooperation of local authorities will be a determining factor in fulfilling its objectives”.

The EU adopted its first Sustainable Development Strategy at the Götenburg European Council in 2001. This was followed by the renewed Sustainable Development Strategy for the enlarged EU in June 2006. This defines sustainable development in the following terms: “Sustainable development means that the needs of the present generation should be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The strategy’s key objectives cover environmental protection, social equity and cohesion, prosperity and the EU’s international obligations. It sets out seven key challenges, with targets and policies to meet them.

These are:
- to limit climate change and its costs and negative effects to society and the environment;
- to ensure that our transport systems meet society’s economic, social and environmental needs whilst minimising their undesirable impacts on the economy, society and the environment;
- to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns;
- to improve management and avoid overexploitation of natural resources, recognising the value of ecosystem services;
- to promote good public health on equal conditions and improve protection against health threats;
- to create a socially inclusive society by taking into account solidarity between and within generations and to secure and increase the quality of life of citizens as a precondition for lasting individual well-being; and
- to actively promote sustainable development worldwide and ensure that the European Union’s internal and external policies are consistent with global sustainable development and its international commitments.
The strategy’s policy guiding principles include the “involvement of businesses and social partners” stating that it should “enhance the social dialogue”.

The 2006 Sustainable Development Strategy foresaw National Sustainable Development Strategies to make progress at national level. It also committed the European Commission to producing a progress report on implementation every two years drawing on a report produced by the EU’s statistical agency EUROSTAT.

The most recent EUROSTAT report relates to 2011 and contains more than 100 indicators of progress. Of the 11 identified as headline indicators, three, those on the risk of poverty or social exclusion, on greenhouse gas emissions and on the consumption of renewables, are seen as moving in a clearly favourable direction.

- Final report December 2012

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