Environmental Sustainability Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Is Environmental Sustainability Compatible with Economic Growth?

Things that were used to be discussed decades back are now in discussion again. The criticism was raised on the Atlantic Airlines which decided to expand its business operations in United Kingdom. The groups that were concerned about the environment challenged the goals and objectives of the company that was based on reducing carbon emissions from the world by 30%.

Now days, many companies are encouraging the concept of a sustainable environment and make developments along with that. In addition, organizations are focusing on business that can be said as compatible with the environment.


There is a complex link and connection between the achievement of a sustainable future along with human well being and growth in the economy as well. The concept has a long history as well as Gifford Pinchot wrote in his book called “ The fight for conservation” that it is the duty of every individual to save the resources that have been used today for our descendants so that they may not be deprived of their needs.

In the developed and the developing world as well, sustainable development is the element that promotes sustainability in the environment, development in the society and growth in the economy. As far as the current model of development is concerned, all the countries in the world are adopting the principles of sustainable development. These paradigms may have a particular effect on the strategies and the policies of the regulatory bodies. With the help of sustainable development, one can achieve enormous growth in the economy in a manner that can be environment friendly as well. It is important to evaluate and analyze the impact of sustainable development as it has severe propositions on the environment globally.

There are different authors who have made efforts to make writings and work on the topic of sustainable environment and growth sustainability over a period.

Definition of Sustainability:

Several definitions have been made up till now of the word sustainability. Some authors defined sustainability as a term that can be used as the capability of individuals to preserve country’s natural resources and try not to waste the valuable resources so that next generation may not suffer a shortage of it. There is another definition as well that has been introduced by the United Nations Commission on economic development. The commission published a report known as Brundtland in 1987 where it states that the sustainability is a phenomenon through which the present generation used the resources of the country without making any compromises on the ability of future generations to utilize those resources as well (UN, 1987). Writers like (Lele 1991, Taylor 2002 and Jabareen 2008) have made objections on the definition given by UN but still many other authors like (Dale 2001 and Adams 2001) believed that this definition does have a broad implication all over the world.

Criticism that has been raised by Lele, Taylor and Jabareen are comprehensive and complex as well. Taylor (2002) made a disagreement with the interpretation by United Nations as he sometimes said; it becomes so difficult to predict the future needs and demands of the coming generation. Complexities in forecasting arise because their demands and needs may be entirely different from the demand raised by current generation. Another contrast raised by Taylor (2002) was the different definition of needs in different countries especially needs for developed country will be different from the needs of developing countries. Despite the fact that many authors have raised issues in the definition of sustainability by United Nations, still the two basic issues covered are the major problem of degradation of the environment that is derived from the growth in the economy and the need that such economic growth will lead the country towards making better society as it will help the country in reducing poverty in the country.

Conceptual framework to describe the concept of sustainable development has been described by Du Plessis (2000) and Barton (2000) in figure 1 that shows a connection among three divisions of the society. The three sectors are environment, society and economy. The authors state that there should be a certain level of equilibrium among these three elements to achieve sustainability and growth in the economy.

Figure 1: Connection among the main sectors of sustainable development

Definition of Environmental Sustainability:

According to the definition provided in dictionary.com, environmental sustainability can be defined as adopting those practices and procedures in the society that lead the country towards sustainable and quality environment on a long-term.

Definition of Sustainable Growth:

According to the definition provided by Financial Times Lexicon, sustainable growth can be defined as the level of growth that be achieve without making any hurdles in the economy and the growth of the economy that is required to sustain without making any problems for .................................

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