The economic growth witnessed in the 20th century was accompanied by extremely high levels of environmental degradation (Smith, Harggroves & Desha, 2010). This form of degradation was so significant that the existence of the planet was endangered.
As a result, several countries started revising their economic development strategies by including environmental preservation (Smith, Harggroves & Desha, 2010). Several international organizations also came into play in order to enhance the protection of the environment.
This led to the emergence of decoupling of economic growth and fighting against environmental degradation as potential ways of advancing the planet towards a sustainable future. Several measures have been devised in order to attain the aforementioned strategies.
Generally, these strategies target economic growth without causing physical degradation of the environment. It also ensures sustainability of both the environment and overall economy (OECD, 2001).
Several measures have been initiated so as to enhance decoupling of environmental degradation as well as economic development. For instance, the overuse of natural resources with the desire to advance economic development is the initial area that requires attention (Volker, 2013).
Both the public and private economic development investors need to develop new ways of resource utilization that will ensure environmental sustainability (Smith, Harggroves & Desha, 2010). One of the best known initiatives is the ‘green economy’ movement.
The latter targets mutual benefits that may be both economical and environmental in nature. Through this focus, the three pillars of sustainability namely the society, environment, and the economy are observed (Smith, Harggroves & Desha, 2010).
In order to boost the effectiveness of the aforementioned pillars, countries across the world have developed policies and laws that ensure strict adherence to the environmental initiatives (OECD, 2001). These policies are meant to enhance continued economic development without degrading the environment.
International organizations such as UNEP have stipulated the maximum amount of natural resources that are to be used annually across the world. The latter aims at regulating the use of resources such as water, materials, and energy (Taoisearch & Kenny, 2010).
This organization also ensures that natural resources are not depleted as a result of economic development. Initiatives such as the green belt movement target reforestation as an environmental conservation initiative. This initiative advocates for planting of trees as part of infrastructural development and environmental preservation.
The green energy initiative also asserts that it is vital to use materials that are renewable in the generation of energy. Furthermore, the initiative has proposed several non-toxic ways of producing energy (Volker, 2013).
Moreover, the initiative aims at minimizing carbon emissions which are usually generated as byproducts in the energy generation processes.
The use of green energy sources such as solar and wind energy have proved to be more sustainable especially in regards to economic development.
The manufacturing industries are also expected to employ production processes that minimize the release of toxic substances into the environment (Taoisearch & Kenny, 2010). The processes should employ technological skills that hinder emission of industrial by-products.
The waste products should be biodegradable and have insignificant harm to the ecosystem (OECD, 2012). The use of more refined industrial manufacturing processes that have minimal wastes is one effective way of ensuring that such wastes are not released to the environment.
The industrial products are also being evaluated on the levels of toxins deposited in the immediate environment. Regulations are currently in place to minimize release of non-biodegradable substances into the environment (OECD, 2012).
In cases where such products are a necessity for economic stability, recycling is usually encouraged so that such wastes do not end up in the environment.
Therefore, industries are encouraged to produce market and environment-friendly products. This is a business policy that targets a sustainable business environment (Taoisearch & Kenny, 2010).
OECD (2012). Ways to Decouple Economic Growth From Environmental Degradation. Web.
Smith, M. H., Harggroves, K. C., & Desha, C. (2010). Cents and Sustainability: Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures. London: Routledge.
Taoisearch, A., & Kenny, E. (2010). Our Sustainable Future: A Framework For Sustainable Development For Ireland. Web.
Volker, M. (2013). Lose Less Instead of Win More: The Failure of Decoupling and Perspectives for Competition in a Degrowth Economy. Environmental Values, 22(1), 43-57.