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

Joseph R. Herkert, Alex Farrell, James Winebrake

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Interdisciplinary Canadian Conference on Foundations and Applications of General Science Theory
EditorsH. Burkhardt
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ, United States
PublisherIEEE
Pages130-139
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1995 4th Interdisciplinary Canadian Conference on Foundations and Applications of General Science Theory - Toronto, Can
Duration: Jun 8 1995Jun 10 1995

Other

OtherProceedings of the 1995 4th Interdisciplinary Canadian Conference on Foundations and Applications of General Science Theory
CityToronto, Can
Period6/8/956/10/95

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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