Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sustainable Development Week

The 2011 Sustainable Development Week is coming to an end in France. Across the country, towns have showcased sustainable development principals and practices.

The most often-quoted definition of sustainable development is that adopted by the Brundtland Commission in 1987: development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Essentially development that is sustainable is an allocation of resources that aims to meet human needs now, while minimising damage to the environment, so that these needs can be met also in the future.

For example, taking too many of a particular fish out of the sea - ‘over fishing’ - will certainly meet consumer needs at present. However, if fish stocks are unable to recover and that particular fish disappears, then in the future, meeting human needs will be compromised. But this would never happen in real life would it?

The Collpase of Atlantic Cod Stocks: East Coast of Newfoundland

The graphic shows the collapse of Atlantic cod stocks off the East Coast of Newfoundland in 1992. From the late 1950s, offshore bottom trawlers began exploiting the deeper part of the stock, leading to a large catch increase BUT a strong decline in the underlying biomass. Internationally agreed quotas in the early 1970s and, following the declaration by Canada of an Exclusive Fishing Zone in 1977, national quota systems ultimately failed to arrest and reverse the decline. Source:

Sustainable development tries to balance 2 major problems : the Earth has a carrying capacity that is limited and humankind’s wants are unlimited. It is economic growth that is in harmony with ecological support systems.

For Pyrenees Mountain Adventure, Sustainable Development is a core principal. Every time there is a business operating decision to be made, that option which creates the minimum negative impact on the environment is chosen. In every area of the business, always! If the minimum impact option cannot be chosen immediately, it becomes a goal to attain in the future.

How is Pyrenees Mountain Adventure attempting to be as sustainable as possible? The 7 night summer walking holiday that PMA offers uses an eco – friendly trail side lodge with solar panels to generate electricity and heat water. A £100 cash back is given to those clients arriving by train rather than flying. Several walks have been designed to start  and finish at the accommodation to minimise client transfer time. Where a client transfer is required, public transport is preferred. 

General day to day operating decisions where the minimum impact option has been chosen include office hardware, office consumables, business travel, business banking and even the walking kit I use (see Blog article: Top 10 Kit Manufacturers.)

The linear ‘Take – Make – Dispose’ system, which depletes natural resources and generates waste, is deeply flawed and can be productively replaced by a restorative model in which waste does not exist as such but is only food for the next cycle - Ellen MacArthur (round-the-world yachtswoman)

It's not a choice between our environment and our economy; it's a choice between prosperity and decline - President Barack Obama (2009)

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