On the importance of “sustainable development”

In the context of the seminar that I am in the process of completing for a class of graduate MBA students of the Institut Supérieur de Gestion, I have just this morning sent them the following small questionnaire that I hope they will be able to whip through in 5 minutes or so. (Also if you would like to share your views on any of this, that would be terrific. I can then try to factor them also into the final round.)

Sustainable Development, Enterprise & Society

Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris. June/July 2011


I would like to invite your views and comments on the following. I ask you this because I am planning a next round of courses on our difficult topic and for that honest feedback is important. And who is better placed than you to give your views. Please understand that this has nothing to do with your mark on the course, and indeed if you prefer you may either (a) ignore entirely or (b) reply after you have your final grade. Also please, do not feel that you have to massage me — it’s YOUR views that are important, not what you think might make your professor feel good.

1. On signing up for the course, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what “sustainable development” is all about?

  1. Yes ___________________________________
  2. No ___________________________________
  3. Something between the two ___________________________________
  4. Don’t remember ___________________________________
  5. Don’t care ___________________________________

2. Now after our course and what I have learned and thought about over the last month, I feel that

  1. It is one of the most critical issues facing people, business and government in the 21st century. ___________________________________
  2. It is pretty important – but only one among other important things. ___________________________________
  3. Not very important ___________________________________
  4. Really just a big media cloud and a campaign on the part of certain groups ___________________________________
  5. Maybe important, maybe not. There is just too much uncertainly and confusion on the topic to make a wise decision about it. ___________________________________
  6. Something else (comment) ________________________________________________
  7. The lead to a more sustainable world has to come from . . (If more than one place put them in order)
    1. World government – UN et al ___________________________________
    2. National governments ___________________________________
    3. Cities ___________________________________
    4. The advanced countries (OECD) ___________________________________
    5. The developing world (Global South) ___________________________________
    6. The business community ___________________________________
    7. NGOs ___________________________________
    8. The academic community ___________________________________
    9. Schools ___________________________________
    10. The media ___________________________________
    11. Leaders at all levels leading by example. ___________________________________
    12. Local public interest groups ___________________________________
    13. Religious groups ___________________________________
    14. Individuals and families making choices, modifying actions ___________________________________

3. The solutions to the problems of sustainable development will above all be from

  1. Technology ___________________________________
  2. Government and laws ___________________________________
  3. Economics and public policy ___________________________________
  4. Individual choices and actions ___________________________________

4.What should be the target period for concentrating on action:

  1. Next 1 – 5 years ___________________________________
  2. 2020 ___________________________________
  3. 2050 ___________________________________
  4. Other ___________________________________

Thanks and let me know if you would like to see the final tally on this.

Eric Britton


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