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Key Message

The pursuit of sustainable development requires that attention be paid to the interactions among the environment, society and the economy. As such, IISD explores how the environment is valued; how public policy instruments can be designed better; and how abject poverty can be addressed sustainably.


Aaron Cosbey· Aaron Cosbey
Senior Associate
Christopher Beaton· Christopher Beaton
Research and Communications Officer
Dimple Roy· Dimple Roy
Director, Water
Jason Potts· Jason Potts
Associate and Program Manager, SMART
László Pintér· László Pintér
Senior Fellow and Associate
Livia Bizikova· Livia Bizikova
Senior Researcher
Oshani Perera· Oshani Perera
Program Leader
Peter Wooders· Peter Wooders
Senior Economist
Stephan Barg· Stephan Barg
Ivetta Gerasimchuk· Ivetta Gerasimchuk
Research Officer

Economics and SD

Bringing economic insight to environmental and social issues

What's New in Economics and SD?

  • IISD is conducting a series of internal seminars aimed at better defining a sustainable economy.
    Our starting point is the Brundtland definition of sustainable development and how intra- and inter-generational equity shape or change national economies and international development. Based on our first few seminars, we have developed a draft “concept map” of sustainable economy. We invite your comments and observations. Please email: mroy@iisd.ca.

Economics is the study of how societies use (scarce) resources. Although the traditional emphasis has been on how resources are allocated, attention is increasingly paid to the equity of the distribution of resources and the overall scale of economic activity. This has been driven, in large part, by concerns about the environmental and social impacts of economic decisions. Conversely, our choices in the environmental and social spheres have economic impacts. The challenge of sustainable development is to better understand and anticipate how decisions affect all three aspects.

To meet such a broad challenge, each IISD program includes economic as well as environmental and social inquiry. This interconnected endeavour requires the use of multiple methods and analytical tools and the field of economics provides many of these. Moreover, economics is increasingly informed by other fields of inquiry thus providing fertile ground for research on how environmental and social issues are affected by our economic choices and vice versa.

Reflecting the range of issues, our work in this area is broad, but it can be grouped into six general categories: mapping sustainable economy; values and valuation of natural capital and ecosystems; economic policy instruments; international trade; foreign investment and sustainable markets.


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