Principles of Sustainable Development is the component of Encyclopedia of Development and Economic Sciences in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty one Encyclopedias.
Sustainable Development is a term of differing definitions. Standing alone, the term is abstract and ambiguous. The meaning most often cited is that adopted by the World Commission on Environment and Development: meeting today’s true needs and opportunities without jeopardizing the integrity of the planetary life-support base – the environment – and diminishing its ability to provide for needs, opportunities, and quality of life in the future. This definition may serve as a general principle, but for a guide to action its components sustainability and development must be given substance: what is to be sustained and what developed? Is development essentially economic or material growth, and is sustainability mostly a means to keep economic growth growing? Consequently, should development represent means toward ecologically sustainable ends? The concept of ecological sustainability has been advanced as a restriction on economic development. It follows therefore that principles of sustainable development depend upon how the term is understood and how it is put into practice. Even so the definition of the World Commission on Environment and Development, given the adequate definition of variable needs, provides the most reliable principle for testing the qualitative and ecological sustainability of development proposals.
The Theme on Principles of Sustainable Development, in three volumes, deals with the diversity of points of view on this complex subject.
These three volumes are aimed at the following five major target audiences: University and College students Educators, Professional practitioners, Research personnel and Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers and NGOs.
Giancarlo Barbiroli is Full Professor of Technology of Production Cycles at the Faculty of Economics, University of Bologna, since 1975. His fields of research are techno-economic analyses carried out on production activities, in order to evaluate their main features, with regard to the technologies adopted and their global performance, the efficient use of energy sources and materials, the impacts on ecosystems, quality. He has set-up and implemented special indicators and models, able to measure the aspects of global performance of production activities, at company and economic system levels, which can be useful to make efficient and appropriate choices, as well as to improve methodological procedures. The branches of production he has systematically investigated, as important case studies to draw general assumptions, have been durable goods (automobiles, appliances), metals and materials (steel, aluminium, cement, paper, others), foodstuffs. Publications (180 articles and 14 books) have appeared in International Journals such as: Technovation, Energy Economics, Journal of Environmental Management, Energy Sources, Applied Energy, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Journal of Mathematical Economics, International Journal of Systems Science, International Journal of Sustainable Development and Industrial Ecology, Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, Energy Policy, Resources Policy, Rassegna Economica, Note Economiche, and in the Proceedings of International Symposia. He has participated in the project of the Italian National Research Council with theme “Alternative technologies for a dynamic dependence” (1984-1987), and as coordinator of Theme 1. He has taught in 2 European Master Degrees on Environmental Management (Sofia and Ankara) organized by the International Centre for Technical Research in London and funded by the EU (1994-1997). He is a member of the Italian Society of Economists. He was Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Bologna (1984–1993), during the celebrations of the 9th Centenary of the University of Bologna