Sustainable Development and Diversity

By: George De Feis  

Sustainable development is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” according to the United Nation’s Brundtland Commission, formerly known as the World Commission of Environment and Development (WCED), which issued its magnum opus, Our Common Future, in 1987. Our Common Future was the UN body’s assessment -- after much analysis, synthesis, expert testimony from industrialists, scientists, NGO representatives, and the general public -- of the dismal future within our common world. Meetings have since occurred -- 1992 Earth Summit, 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 2012 Earth Summit (“Rio +20 Meeting,” since it occurred twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit also in Rio de Janeiro), etc. Diversity exists in age, culture, ethics, geography, geopolitics, intellect, socioeconomics, and others characteristics, and diversity can also imply cognitive biases based, for instance, on bounded rationality (Simon 1957); anchoring (Bazerman and Moore 2013); and overall biasness in decision-making (Tversky and Kahneman 1973, 1979) of all people. Diversity impacts all aspects of our life, even the way we eat. For example, in Vietnam locals may consume different animals and plants, but make use of all parts. In the United States, it is common to purchase the desired parts of an animal (e.g., T-bone steak), but not much thought is given to the use of the whole animal. Therefore, the “farm-to-table” movement is a trend in the developed world, but is a way-of-life in the lesser developed world. The challenges for sustainable development are plentiful.

sustainable development, biases
Organizational Diversity
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

George De Feis

Assistant Professor, Management, Iona College, United States
United States