From Sustainable Development to the Green Transformation - A Rough Guide

From Sustainable Development to the Green Transformation - A Rough Guide

This paper provides a brief guide to concepts around alternatives to current economic development, such as ‘sustainable development’, the ‘green economy’, ‘green growth’, ‘low carbon development’, ‘decarbonisation’ and the ‘great transformation’.

It argues that they are not just competing ‘brands’ but entail subtle but important differences with regard to whether growth is essential for greening, whether social dimensions are included or how deep the change needs to be in order to achieve sustainability. This note brings out where they overlap and where they differ and then suggests a way of grouping drivers and pathways using multiple criteria.

The paper argues that more attention needs to be given to the drivers of change and that progress is slow because the debate pitches public against private (or civic) sectors, developed against developing countries, or rising powers against old powers. It argues that the best hope to accelerate green transformation is forging alliances across these divides.

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