Minnesota Sustainable Development Initiative

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Introduction: Finding solutions that benefit people, business and the environment.

The Minnesota Sustainable Development Initiative is based on the common-sense belief that if Minnesota's prosperity is to be sustained over time, what is good for business, the environment and communities must eventually become one and the same. This is the essential challenge of sustainable development.

The Minnesota Sustainable Development Initiative is a collaboration of business, government and civic interests to promote policies, institutions and actions that ensure Minnesota's long-term environmental, economic and social well-being. It is administered by the Environmental Quality Board.

Vision, principles and characteristics Publications Contact the Initiative Relevant legislation Smart Growth 1999 Sustainable Development Program Directory Links Minnesota progress indicators Sustainable Development Defined Like other large, guiding concepts such as justice or liberty, sustainable development has many definitions. Most interpretations share the fundamental ideas expressed in the definition found in Minnesota Statutes, Section 4A.07: "development that maintains or enhances economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment upon which people and economies depend. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." For a primer on sustainable development, see Sustainable Development: The Very Idea.

Vision, Principles and Characteristics The Sustainable Development Initiative's vision is of a future where businesses grow and prosper while respecting the natural and human environments that support them.

The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development, in response to Minnesota Statutes, Section 4A.07, developed five principles that lay out broad guideposts along the path to sustainable development.

The Sustainable Development Initiative, in its 1999 publication Smart Signals: Economics for Lasting Progress, also suggests several principles for rethinking and reforming government policies and programs to correct errant economic signals.

The 10 characteristics of policies likely to make positive contributions to sustainable development are outlined in Investing in Minnesota's Future.

While no two communities have exactly the same ecology, values, geography, businesses or cultures, those that are sustainable places to live and work do share some things in common. The Round Table on Sustainable Development identified several characteristics of sustainable communities from its conversations with Minnesota communities and the experiences of other communities around the country.

Minnesota Sustainable Development Initiative