BRIEFING NOTE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTSustainable Development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of futuregenerations to meet their own needs - "Our Common Future", UN World Commission on Environment and Developmentreport, 1987, Gro Harlem Brundtland (chair).The purpose of this Briefing Note is to share with A key aspect of sustainable development is to preventorganisations the Byrne Ó Cléirigh (BÓC) experience on human induced climate change by reducing thesome of the issues and concerns arising from the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to thepractical implication of this complex area. atmosphere. A graphical view of sustainable development is presented below. This shows the economy existing within society and society existing within the environment: each, in turn, being a subset of the other. This illustrates that the protection of the environment must be a major priority in any project if it is to be sustainable.IntroductionWhat is Sustainable Development? Although, the Environment Society Economyconcept does not easily lend itself to a precise definition,it can be seen as a vision of progress that integratesimmediate and longer-term needs, and local and globalneeds. It regards social, economic and environmentalfactors needs as inseparable and interdependentcomponents needed for successful development. Agenda 21Background A key outcome of the UN Rio Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 was the drawing‘… sustainable development is now one of the most up of Agenda 21. This was a comprehensive,universally endorsed aspirations of our time.’ . It is a international, action plan for the twenty-first century toprocess with many under lying themes, not a static be taken globally, nationally and locally by organisationsstate-of-being and this, leads to its precise definition of the United Nations System, Governments, and Majorcreating some confusion. Groups (such as business) in every area in which humans impact on the environment. Agenda 21 setsWhile many different definitions have been introduced three primary goals for sustainable development:over the years, the most universally accepted comesfrom the UN report “Our Common Future” more - Relevant national level policies and strategies,commonly known as the Brundtland Report. - Integration of decision-making processes, - Community involvement. Byrne Ó Cléirigh, 30a Westland Square, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Telephone: + 353 – 1 – 6770733. Facsimile: + 353 – 1 – 6770729. Email: Admin@boc.ie. Website: www.boc.ie Directors: L Ó Cléirigh, BE, MIE, C Eng, FIEI, FI Mech E. AJ Clarke, BE, C Eng, FIEI. TV Cleary, BE, C Eng, FIEI, F I Chem E. JB Fitzpatrick, FCA.
2 Sustainable Development – Meeting the needs of today… and tomorrow!This was seen as the first global attempt to tackle Sustainable SolutionsSustainable Development and the Agenda is still in For organisations to implement sustainable solutionsprogress today. within their current or planned operations, each of the following aspects must be carefully considered in an integrated manner:Sustainable Development & Climate Change • Energy, stOne of the most pressing issues of the 21 century • Transport,looks set to be climate change. The rising levels of CO2 • Waste,and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have • Water,raised serious concerns about the stability of our • Materials & Natural Resource Use,climate. • Whole Life Cycle (Cradle to Cradle), • Biodiversity, • Planning, Buildings & Land Use, • Societal & Community Needs, • Stakeholder Participation and Communication, • Education & Training, • Economic Feasibility. Services Available BÓC can provide innovative solutions, which integrateThis has been brought about, primarily, from the burning aspects of economic, social and environmentalof fossil fuels and changes in land use. In order to deal concerns. Our multi-disciplined team, with its extensivewith this problem, organisations are being asked to expertise in sustainability, will assess each project on antackle this global challenge on a local level. individual basis and thus provide our Clients with specific solutions to address these complex, interlinkedThe recently published Stern Review  states that challenges.“The scientific evidence that climate change is a seriousand urgent issue is now compelling. It warrants strong At our initial meeting, we draw up a detailed list of all theactions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the areas to be focused on, including those of specificworld to reduce the risk of very damaging and potentially concern for the Client. A first assessment is carried outirreversible impacts on ecosystems, societies and to record the current status in each of the areas listedeconomies. “ above. From this benchmark, a list of targets is agreed with the Client and BÓC develops a comprehensive,It also emphasises that the cost of action taken now is sustainable development programme to ensure theseconsiderably less than the estimated damages in the targets are met. By successfully implementing thefuture if we continue on in a business as usual manner,. programme, with BÓC support, Clients will become sustainability leaders in their field of operation and also remove the uncertainty of complying with the growing levels of legislative and sustainability requirements, which are demanded by government and stakeholders.Byrne Ó Cléirigh 000L March 2007
Sustainable Development – Meeting the needs of today… and tomorrow! 3Below is a comprehensive list of the areas that are Biodiversityassessed by BÓC for inclusion in the programme, as • Biodiversity planspart of our all-round Sustainable Development service. • Green area plans • Green roof assessmentsEnergy • Wildlife protection / encouragement plans • Renewable energy options & integration • Energy auditing & advice Planning, Buildings & Land Use • Greenhouse gas emissions from energy use • Policy advice for sustainable developments • Energy efficiency & demand management • Orientation for passive heating • Conservation area plansTransport • Sustainability advice for planning applications • Sustainable transport plans • Integration of sustainable facilities • Integration of sustainable transport facilities • Use of BREEAM, CEEQUAL etc. for project • Multi modal transport studies sustainability assessmentWaste • Waste management plans Societal & Community Needs • Recycling facilities & initiatives • Air quality, noise, odour and light assessment plans • Waste to Energy facilities • Risk assessments • Composting & organic waste disposal • Conservation plans • WEEE disposal plans • Supporting local economiesWater • Local education and health protection plans • Water management plans Stakeholder Participation & Communication • Wastewater management • Community participation plans • Rainwater harvesting plans • Community communication advice • Grey water reuse studies • Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) Education & Training • Water efficiency plans • Employee training in sustainability • PR education campaignsMaterials & Resource Use • Induction to sustainability / environmental • Sustainable material use management systems • Low embodied energy materials • Seminars on Sustainable Development and • Green procurement strategies Climate Change for high level management • Recycled products purchasing down to on the floor personnel • Sustainable food plans Economic FeasibilityLife Cycle Analysis • Payback periods • Cradle to grave/cradle assessment • Cost savings via sustainable development • Carbon footprinting plans • Whole life environmental impacts • Whole life cycle costing • Regeneration / rehabilitation costing adviceByrne Ó Cléirigh 000L March 2007
4 Sustainable Development – Meeting the needs of today… and tomorrow!Environmental Management Systems (EMS) & Short- and long-term financial benefits are realisedSustainability Management Systems (SMS) from sustainable development in the following tangible ways:BÓC promotes the use of EMS and SMS as a means ofmanaging the impacts of an organisation’s operation, • Savings in energy, water and resource useeither as a component of Corporate Social • Savings on infrastructure maintenanceResponsibility (CSR), or as a stand-alone service. expenditure and post project / operationFrom the initial design and operation of the management decommissioningsystem, to annual reporting and continuous • Savings in waste disposalimprovement, BÓC can help organisations achieve • Lower GHG emissionsmuch more than the basic minimum compliance. • Healthier, happier, more productive employeesOverall, these measures reduce ecological footprints, • Fewer legal liabilities and costsprovide safer, healthier work environments and benefit • Image protectionthe local and global environment. • Reputation enhancement • Future-proofing of projectsBÓC also promotes the use of the Global Reporting • Avoidance of expensive retrofitsInitiative (GRI - www.globalreporting.org ), as a meansof reporting on the sustainability of companies. In 2007, Further opportunities can be expected as newGRI had 959 participant organisations, from 60 legislation tackles unsustainable practices andcountries, declaring their use of the GRI Reporting governments promote sustainable developmentFramework and it is regarded as best practise for principles and practices.sustainability reporting world wide. BÓC can help in thecreation of the GRI annual sustainability report. About Us Byrne Ó Cléirigh is a multi-disciplined, engineering and management consultancy with a reputation for proficiency, innovation and reliability in three core areas of expertise: • Energy Supply & Use • Environment Protection • Safety & Risk Management We enable our Clients to successfully manage some of the key elements of profitable and sustainable enterprise today. We also provide Project Management Services,Opportunities for organisations Programme Implementation and Training within our core areas of expertise.In BÓC, we advise and support our Clients on how bestto incorporate sustainability throughout their current and If you wish to discuss how Sustainable Developmentfuture operations. When planning new developments or may be implemented into your organisation / project oroperations, it is essential that the sustainable you require further information on any of our services,development programme be prepared and implemented please feel free to phone us at +353-1-6770733 or sendat the beginning of a project and not seen as an ad-on, if an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .all the potential benefits are to be realised.This Briefing Note is issued in good faith and is for information only. Neither Byrne Ó Cléirigh nor any person acting on our behalf isresponsible for any use which might be made of its contents.1 2 Irish Government Green Paper on Sustainable Energy (1999). The Economics of Climate Change (2006).Byrne Ó Cléirigh 000L March 2007