The Economic Development Planís vision is for economic development in Tasmania that is both socially and environmentally sustainable1. This is sometimes referred to as a triple bottom-line approach, where not only economic costs and benefits are accounted for, but also social and environmental costs and benefits. It means that economic growth is not undertaken at the cost of foregone social sustainability and environmental benefit. There is a strong business case that these factors should be developed together in an integrated and interactive fashion. Growing public awareness of social and environmental issues is driving changes in the products and services consumers buy, how companies do business and how investment decisions are made2.
Customers, whether they are individual or companies, are increasingly willing to have included the wider cost impacts in prices for goods and services that ensure social and environmental sustainability.
This trend is evident in Tasmaniaís business environment, where consumers and investors are seeking higher standards of social and environmental performance, and evidence of sustainable production and manufacturing processes. Business can benefit from sustainability strategies through creating new products, attracting high-end customers, increased investment opportunities, reducing energy costs, increasing water conservation, and attracting and retaining committed staff. The government will use this triple bottom-line approach to promote economic development and a consistent approach to promoting Tasmanianís brand. This approach will also reinforce Tasmaniaís liveability credentials.
The major contribution of economic development on social sustainability is through creating employment, improving skill levels and workforce participation to reduce inequality and poverty. For some time Tasmania has experienced skills shortages in certain areas of the economy while simultaneously having a pool of under-utilised or unemployed labour. Our demographic profile points to ongoing challenges, with an ageing population forecast to result in a reduction in the working-age population, and the loss of workplace skills as some of the most experienced members of the workforce retire.
Key outcomes for Goal Three can be found here.
1 There are many reports that discuss the concept of sustainable development. One of the most comprehensive is Sustainable Development: Critical Issues Paris OECD 2001
2 International Finance Corporation, Leadership in Environmental and Social Sustainability, webpage accessed June 2011 at: http://www.ifc.org/sustainability