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Environmentally Sound Technologies for Sustainable Development

By Mclaren, Digby J.

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Book Id: WPLBN0000028118
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.9 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: Environmentally Sound Technologies for Sustainable Development  
Author: Mclaren, Digby J.
Language: English
Subject: Economics, Finance & business, World Bank.
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: The World Bank


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Mclaren, D. J. (n.d.). Environmentally Sound Technologies for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from


Environmentally Sound Technologies The definition of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) is based on Agenda 21, which arose from the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), otherwise known as the Earth Summit, held in 1992. Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 defines ESTs as technologies which: protect the environment -- are less polluting -- use all resources in a more sustainable manner -- recycle more of their wastes and products; and -- handle residual wastes in a more acceptable manner than the technologies for which they are substitutes. ESTs are therefore technologies that have the potential for significantly improved environmental performance relative to other technologies. Agenda 21 also contains several other important statements to guide interpretation of this definition, with emphasis on facilitating the accessibility and transfer of technology, particularly in developing countries, as well as the essential role of capacity building and technology cooperation in promoting sustainable development. It states that: New and efficient technologies will be essential to increase the capabilities (in particular of developing countries) to achieve sustainable development, sustain the world?s economy, protect the environment, and alleviate poverty and human suffering. Inherent in these activities is the need to address the improvement of technology currently used and its replacement, when appropriate, with more accessible and more environmentally sound technology. ESTs are not just individual technologies. They can also be defined as total systems that include know-how, procedures, goods and services, and equipment, as well as organisational and managerial procedures for promoting environmental sustainability. Based on these characteristics, the definition of ESTs: applies to the transition of all technologies in becoming more environmentally sound -- captures the full life cycle flow of the material, energy and water in the production and consumption system -- covers the full spectrum from basic technologies that are adjunct to the production and consumption system, to fully integrated technologies where the environmental technology is the production or consumption technology itself -- includes closed system technologies (where the goal is zero waste and/or significant reductions in resource use), as well as environmental technologies that may result in emissions; and -- considers technology development within both the ecological and social context. The adoption and use of ESTs must be underpinned by the concomitant development of more holistic environmental management strategies, taking into account the need for culturally appropriate, ecologically sustainable solutions. Transparency and accountability are fundamental prerequisites. Baselines, benchmarks, codes of practice and indicators of sustainable development are tools for assessing the performance of technological systems on a continuous basis and for modifying future strategies.


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