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Innovation, the Key to Sustainable Development

August 26, 2021

Sustainability“: this word of high intrinsic value and sometimes abused usage has been interpreted differently over the years. Generally, sustainability is meant as the place where economy, social reality and environmental health intertwine.

Anders Wijkman, former Member of the European Parliament, Honorary President of the Club of Rome, and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, shares his perspective: true sustainable development requires the ability to assess the long-term benefits, shortcomings, and effects of initiatives on all three inherently interconnected, fundamental elements that make up our society: community, economy and environment.

In the past few years, the EU has launched several initiatives in support of sustainability. More recently, these actions have focused primarily on the environmental dimension, mostly because there are already a great many policies devoted to social welfare and because of the increasing awareness among younger generations of the environment’s rapid deterioration and the threat posed by climate change.

This is why the European Green Deal is one of the EU’s flagship initiatives across all its member states. The Deal acknowledges that to see significant impact governments across all countries must be engaged to be in alignment in terms of developing resource-efficient and circular economies and policies designed to protect vital ecosystems and halt the loss of biodiversity.

Innovation is a new paradigm that is proving to be crucial to achieve sustainable development. Many of the advances achieved in recent years in favour of a greener economy have been made possible thanks to discoveries such as renewable technologies, electric vehicles, and green hydrogen.

Innovation, however, must also be applied to the economic, social and institutional spheres. It is now clear that even after a considerable amount of progress, our society, still vertically organized, needs systemic and interconnected solutions that ensure global and sustainable progress.

Watch Anders Wijkman’s video interview and hear how innovation is key in the process of sustainable development.