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Operationalizing sustainable development in a technology choice context: moving from theory to practice

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3 Author(s)
Herkert, J.R. ; Div. of Multidisciplinary Studies, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC, USA ; Farrell, A. ; Winebrake, J.

The phrase “sustainable development” was coined to broadly address economic, social, technical and environmental interactions under a framework of intra- and inter-generational equity. Although very rich, the phrase “sustainable development” does not provide a robust and practical (i.e., operational) “knowledge tool” to help us understand and apply the concept. This paper presents such a “knowledge tool” via a multi-attribute decision model that can be used to analyze technology choice decisions within a sustainable development context. The paper illustrates the usefulness of such an approach through an example in energy policy. The results of this analysis indicate that while operationalizing sustainability concepts for technology choice decisions is difficult, valuable lessons are learned that can be applied to a number of other decision problems in the areas of government policy and business operations. Using such a “knowledge tool” can both improve our understanding of sustainability and the elements needed for its realization

Published in:

Foundations and Applications of General Science Theory, 1995. Knowledge Tools for a Sustainable Civilization. Interdisciplinary Conference., Canadian Conference on

Date of Conference:

8-10 Jun 1995