The Manifesto we all want – esd's just the thing for a fair economy

Posted in: Comment, New Publications

This is the third post focused on the "Enabling the future we want: education for sustainable development in the UK – a manifesto for dialogue, collaboration and action post Rio+20". It looks at the connection between ESD and the economy.  It begins like this:

Emphasise the connection between ESD and the economy both the need for a thriving Green and Fair Economy, and the reassessment of the effectiveness of GDP as a global tool to measure progress, moving towards a GDP+ framework, highlight the need for ESD.  We are calling for:

Increased collaboration between governments, NGOs, business and education sectors to ensure young people are sufficiently prepared for the opportunities and challenges of a Green and Fair Economy.

Recommended actions

  • Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies to continue to recognise the importance of sustainability in their guidelines
  • Business Schools to take an active role in the realignment of the economy with planetary boundaries and poverty eradication

Of course, we need greater connections and collaborations – but some specifics would have helped.  What is it about "ESD and the economy" that the authors had in mind?  As drafted, this is mostly motherhood and apple pie stuff: after all, who's going to be agin more collaboration for useful social ends?  In terms of what's being called for, however, adding the notion of a 'fair economy' to the already problematic idea of a 'green' one will cause some confusion, particularly as 'fair' is never explained.  'Fair' to whom?  To everyone, I suppose?   But can we really all be winners, or even break even, in the process of moving to a more sustainable society?  Discuss ...

As to the actions, it's hard to know what the second one means.  There will be much scratching of business school heads over this – if they have bothered to read it, of course.  I wonder how many business schools were consulted over this.  I suspect I know the answer.

As to the first action: "to continue to recognise …", well, the implication of this call for 'continuation' suggests that all's quite ok, thanks; that all these bodies are doing fine, are on track, making all the right demands, etc.  It's just a question of 'continuing'. But this is complacent nonsense.   Or is it just poor drafting?   My money's on the latter as the authors have form.  This section has a hurried look, as if there was never quite time to get it right.  Such a pity.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications


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