Quotation Hametner, Markus. 2022. Economics without ecology: How the SDGs fail to align socioeconomic development with environmental sustainability. Ecological Economics. 199




Science is increasingly warning that the Earth, as a result of human activity, is currently on a trajectory towards environmental collapse. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by UN member states in 2015 as a means to reconcile human activity with planetary boundaries, allowing humanity to thrive while safeguarding Earth's life support. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether the SDGs so far have lived up to their promise. Using Eurostat's SDG indicator set, the study calculates temporal progress measures of socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability for the European Union (EU) member states. To validate the findings, the two progress measures are compared with changes in the human development index (HDI) and the ecological footprint (EF). The study's results show that over the past five years of available data, most EU member states have seen socioeconomic progress combined with environmental degradation. The trends in the HDI and the EF corroborate this finding, suggesting that the trade-off between socioeconomic activity and environmental preservation continues to exist. SDG implementation should consequently put a stronger focus on the environmental dimension, to ensure that the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda's socioeconomic objectives does not undermine the ecosystem services humanity depends on.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Ecological Economics
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, STRAT-B, VW-C, WH-B
Language English
Title Economics without ecology: How the SDGs fail to align socioeconomic development with environmental sustainability
Volume 199
Year 2022
Reviewed? Y
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107490
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107490
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107490


EUROSTAT Publications on EU policy initiatives and methodological assistance on indicators (2019-2022)
Hametner, Markus (Details)
Institute for Managing Sustainability IN (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1904 Interdisciplinary natural sciences (Details)
2959 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5353 Environmental economics (Details)
5369 Environmental management (Details)
5924 Environmental economics (Details)
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