The document, Mainstreaming Sustainable Development, sets out how the government aims to deliver sustainability while increasing economic growth and tackling the deficit.

It says that the ‘three pillars’ of sustainable development are the economy, society and the environment and that these are all interconnected.

The government says it recognises that sustainability should be at the core of business strategy, so it wants to mainstream sustainable development by embedding into policy.

Measures include the environment secretary sitting on the key domestic policy Cabinet committees, including the Economic Affairs Committee and a ministerial steering group to oversee the delivery of the greening of government operations and procurement.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, said:” Moving to a long-term, green and sustainable economy is essential if we are to rebuild our finances, improve our quality of life and protect our natural environment.

“Genuine sustainability will never again be an add-on or afterthought. It will be at the heart of everything we do – from making policy to running government buildings or purchasing goods and services.”

Defra will take the lead responsibility for reviewing departmental business plans in relation to sustainable development principles.

The minister for government policy will then hold departments to account through the quarterly business plan review process.

In other words, there will be no external independent body to scrutinise the success of the measures, which was the task of the Sustainable Development Commission, soon to be wound down.

You can read the full document on Defra’s Sustainable Development site.

Alison Brown

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