Part 3 - Sustainable Development Plan

The Department continues to progress the development of its sustainable development framework. The full benefit and effectiveness of this framework will occur as it is progressively linked to the Department’s decision-making and core processes.

The 2002 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines,1 prepared and issued by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are being informally applied as the basis for the Department’s sustainable development framework for the future. The guidelines provide, inter alia, a list of core and additional social, environmental and economic aspects and indicators that, where relevant to the particular organisation, should be consistently measured and reported on.

An initial focus by the Department on the three core elements resulted in the use of the term ‘triple bottom line’ in both its 2003/04 Annual Report and the 2004/05 Statement of Intent. However, the concept has further evolved and it is now accepted that achieving sustainability requires balancing the relationships of all three elements, something that is better communicated through the use of the term ‘sustainable development’.2

Notwithstanding the progress to date, sustainable development is still in its early stages within the Department. The Department’s focus therefore remains on:

  • further research to assist with the identification of relevant social, environmental and economic indicators, and the structure of its framework
  • identifying and developing core external sustainable development relationships
  • communicating sustainable development and its principles both within and outside of the Department
  • developing efficient and effective internal processes to ensure the effective measurement and collation of relevant sustainable development information.

Within this context, this sustainable development plan highlights the Department’s social, environmental and economic goals and indicators for the 2005/06 financial year.

The Department’s sustainable development framework will be further developed during the 2005/06 financial year. The successes and work carried out to date are a result of the Department’s commitment to addressing all potential issues and opportunities for improvement, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and staff, an approach the Department will carry into the 2005/06 and subsequent financial years.

1 2002 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, Global Reporting Initiative, Boston, USA, 2002.

2 Business Guide to Sustainable Development Reporting – Making a Difference for a Sustainable New Zealand, New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, Auckland, 2002.

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