The term, sustainable development, was first commonly used in a report published by the World Commission on Environment and Development back in 1987. However, the term became internationally known after the world leaders set out future principles for sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The first pillar of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development outlines that “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”

Sustainable development has three main pillars: Economic prosperity, social progress and environmental balance. These three components must be viewed in context and an effort made to maximise economic prosperity and social progress without harming the environment. The process is a complicated one and depends upon the cooperation of government, industry, NGO’s and individual members of society.

The term does not provide a magical solution to the many complex issues faced by man in the modern world, but it does offer a useful and effective approach to the problems involved, and has encouraged the world’s nations to join forces, in an effort to resolve many of the major challenges of the 21st century.

It is Landsvirkjun‘s policy to promote sustainable development within Icelandic society.

The main concept behind the sustainable use of resources is a simple one. The concept is twofold; firstly to utilise the earth‘s resources in a conservative manner, preferably relying on resources that are naturally replenished. Secondly, to utilize resources in a manner that will not pollute or cause damage to the environment.

The Alcoa and Landsvirkjun Sustainability Initiative was launched in 2004, in the early stages of the construction of the Kárahnjukar dam and the Fjardaál smelter in Reydarfjordur, East-Iceland. The initiative was set up to analyse the effects of the development on the local community, the environment and the local economy. The company called upon the cooperation of a variety of groups, both for and against the project, creating a focus group to assess the impact.

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