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Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management (CIWEM)

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS  
Tel: 020 7831 3110   Fax: 020 7405 4967

Sustainable Development



Reframing Sustainable Development: A Critical Analysis

This report proposes a new sustainability paradigm in order to avert environmental and subsequent social and economic collapse.

CIWEM considers that the current emphasis on an integrated consideration of environmental, social and economic components of sustainability is undermined by poor decision making, weak governance and institutional frameworks which, ultimately, allow too great an emphasis on economic growth to the detriment of environmental and resource conservation.  Furthermore, there remains confusion with currently accepted definitions of sustainable development concerning the precise meaning of terms including 'development' and 'future'.  Thus, as a global community we are a long way from any kind of sustainable development.


In order to rectify this failure, CIWEM considers that sustainable development must be re-framed to focus more explicitly on the fundamental environmental dimension within culturally sympathetic contexts.  The single limiting factor of a so-called sustainable human race is the management and rate of exploitation of a finite planet - its resources and natural environment - of which humankind is a part. If these resources can be managed and conserved appropriately then pressures on people and the environment will be lessened and social and economic benefit will ultimately follow.

This report is endorsed by the Society for the Environment.


Mainstreaming Sustainability - A CIWEM Review of the UK Government's progress

The Coalition Government introduced marked changes to the sustainability agenda.  Its position on sustainability was that it should not be driven from a non-departmental, independent body but mainstreamed throughout government utilising the same frameworks as for other agendas.

Mainstreaming Sustainability critically examines this approach and sets out CIWEM's position on whether it considers it to be an appropriate model. 

The report also analyses the actions taken on planning and zero-carbon homes from the DCLG, low carbon and green economy policies from the DECC and action on the natural environment from Defra. The Government's own performance across its estate in terms of carbon cutting and procurement is also assessed. CIWEM has judged each area against the principles of SD in Securing the Future.


Other activities

Planning Reform

CIWEM has been particularly vocal on the issue of sustainable development within the reforms to the planning system and the National Planning Policy Framework.

CIWEM joined with five other bodies representing a range of environmental professions in a joint letter to planning Minister, Greg Clarke MP, expressing their concern over the current planning reform proposals from Government. More information on the letter

CIWEM's consultation response featured on the front page of the Telegraph following CIWEM's press release: "A builders' charter". CIWEM considered the initial draft of the framework to be completely deficient and have been pleased to see a marked improvement in the definitions of SD in the final draft.

CIWEM's responses to the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Communities and Local Government Committee can be found here.  CIWEM gave oral evidence to the Communities and Local Government Committee on our concerns over an economic bias to sustainability in the NPPF. The Committee's final report agreed with many of CIWEM's recommendations.


Guide to sustainability standards and tools

CIWEM has produced a signposting tool Signposts to Sustainability to help those in the industry put in place the most appropriate measures to increase sustainability at the various stages across the life of a project.


Policy Position Statements 





Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management (CIWEM)

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS  
Tel: 020 7831 3110   Fax: 020 7405 4967