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Dematerialization and capital maintenance : two sides of the sustainability coin ; analysis

  • The reductionist trend of equating sustainable development with sustained economic growth needs to be reversed. New accounts and balances help to operationalize the elusive notion of sustainability: they provide a coherent picture of the interaction between environment and economy. "Greened" national accounts measure economic sustainability in terms of (produced and natural) capital maintenance; balances of material flows assess ecological sustainability as the dematerialization of production and consumption. Both concepts aim to preserve environmental assets, but differ in scope, strength and evaluation of sustainability. First results for Germany indicate weak sustainability of the economy; strong sustainability is not in sight because ofThe reductionist trend of equating sustainable development with sustained economic growth needs to be reversed. New accounts and balances help to operationalize the elusive notion of sustainability: they provide a coherent picture of the interaction between environment and economy. "Greened" national accounts measure economic sustainability in terms of (produced and natural) capital maintenance; balances of material flows assess ecological sustainability as the dematerialization of production and consumption. Both concepts aim to preserve environmental assets, but differ in scope, strength and evaluation of sustainability. First results for Germany indicate weak sustainability of the economy; strong sustainability is not in sight because of insufficient reduction of material throughput. Attaining sustainability through integrated policies needs the support of share- and stakeholders of sustainable development.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Peter Bartelmus
Year of Publication:2003
Language:English
Source Title (English):Ecological economics
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(03)00078-8
Volume:46
Issue:1
First Page:61
Last Page:81
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Wirtschaft
Abteilung:Abteilung Stoffströme und Strukturwandel