Sustainability and Jobs in the Knowledge Economy
Peter Johnston (European Commission, Information Society DG)
Abstract: The rapid emergence of a global knowledge economy both shortens the timetable for progress on sustainable development and also offers a potential "win-win" alternative to the traditional trade-off between growth and environmental sustainability.
The Lisbon Strategy and e-Europe initiative to accelerate development of the knowledge economy in Europe already addresses several aspects of social and economic sustainability. However, the trends in most resource-use and environmental impact indicators are still worsening, and much more needs to be done to realise the potential benefits of structural change in business and employment, notably in the service sector.
The Stockholm and Göteborg EU Summits, and the subsequent Rio+10 conference give a timely and unique opportunity to establish European coherence and leadership in seeking sustainable development in the knowledge economy.
However, we also need a new clarification of individual and business-level responsibilities for lifestyle and business organisation changes, and a much wider take-up of innovative "win-win" solutions for growth with reductions in resource use and impacts.
Keywords: European Union, information society, knowledge economy, sustainable development