The principle of sustainable economic management means that through the consistent power of innovation the variety of products and services offered is steadily expanded, while at the same time costs are cut and resources saved.
Sustainable economic development
The term “sustainable development” is closely connected with the Brundtland World Commission on Environment and Development of the United Nations. In its 1987 Report the Commission writes:
- “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
- “Thus the goals of economic and social development must be defined in terms of sustainability in all countries […]. Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all […].”
Economic policy plays a key role in realising sustainable development:
- By contributing to the economic conditions enabling the required structural changes, economic policy is partially responsible for the ecological and social consequences.
- The overall goal of a sustainable business location is to consistently ensure for present and future generations qualitative economic growth that is not dependent on the use of resources, including more and better jobs, social security as well as a healthy and intact environment.
- However, sustainable development is only possible if it is based on a successful and competitive economy. This requires companies to see themselves in a new role, in that they fulfil their ecological and social responsibility for designing the working environment, products and services, for carrying out research and development and for the use of technologies.
- To enable sustainable development, it is also necessary for prices to reflect the actual cost of resources and energy. In this way, what makes sense economically becomes a source of success for companies, creating incentives for sustainable behaviour.
- The aim must therefore be to boost resource productivity while stimulating economic growth in such a way that these two factors become increasingly independent of each other.
- In this context, priority is clearly given to avoiding the consumption of raw materials and energy, inasmuch as this is technologically feasible and economically justifiable, with the aim of reducing the overall consumption of resources in absolute terms.
The primary goal of the Austrian Strategy for Sustainable Development should thus be to continuously increase the market share of products and services having a low level of resource and energy consumption.