The Government’s approach
Mainstreaming Sustainable Development (pdf): complete package setting out the Government’s vision for sustainable development and measures to support it. Published 28 February 2011.
Good progress has been made in the last 16 years since the first UK sustainable development strategy was published. However, the time has come to move sustainable development beyond being considered as a separate, ‘green’ issue which is a priority for only a few Government departments.
Just as leading businesses recognise that sustainability is a core strategic issue and not just a ‘nice to have’, this Government wants to mainstream sustainable development so that it is central to the way we make policy, run our buildings and purchase goods and services.
Mainstreaming sustainable development
Ministers have agreed an approach for mainstreaming sustainable development, consisting of providing ministerial leadership and oversight, leading by example, embedding sustainable development into policy and transparent and independent scrutiny.
New measures to support this include:
Ministerial leadership and oversight
- The Environment Secretary will sit on the key domestic policy Cabinet committees, including the Economic Affairs Committee, to enforce the Government’s commitment to sustainability across domestic policy making;
- A Ministerial Steering Group will oversee delivery of new commitments for greening Government’s operations and procurement;
Leading by example
- Reducing Government’s waste generation, water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Waste will be cut by 25 per cent (approximately 74,000 tonnes) by the end of this Parliament. Best practice water efficiency methods will be put in place across government, as well as a new stretching commitment on greenhouse gas reduction which builds on the current 10 per cent announced by the Prime Minister in May 2010;
- Ensuring the Government buys more sustainable and efficient products and engages with its suppliers to understand and reduce the impacts of supply chains;
Embedding sustainable development in government policy
- 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;
Transparency and independent scrutiny
- Developing real and measurable indicators to monitor sustainability across government and report results publicly;
- Independent monitoring of sustainability in Government operations, procurement and policies by the Environmental Audit Committee;
- More frequent and up-to-date publishing of information and statistics online will replace annual reports on sustainability to allow constant scrutiny of progress and performance.
Page last modified: 24 May, 2013