Finding solutions that benefit people, business and the environment.

The Minnesota Sustainable Development Initiative was based on the common-sense belief that if Minnesota's prosperity is to be sustained over time, what is good for business, the environment and communities must eventually become one and the same. This is the essential challenge of sustainable development.

The Minnesota Sustainable Development Initiative was a collaboration of business, government and civic interests to promote policies, institutions and actions that ensure Minnesota's long-term environmental, economic and social well-being. It is administered by the Environmental Quality Board.

Sustainable Development Defined

Like other large, guiding concepts such as justice or liberty, sustainable development has many definitions. Most interpretations share the fundamental ideas expressed in the definition found in Minnesota Statutes, Section 4A.07: "development that maintains or enhances economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment upon which people and economies depend. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." For a primer on sustainable development, see Sustainable Development: The Very Idea.

Vision, Principles and Characteristics

The Sustainable Development Initiative's vision is of a future where businesses grow and prosper while respecting the natural and human environments that support them.

The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development, in response to Minnesota Statutes, Section 4A.07, developed five principles that lay out broad guideposts along the path to sustainable development.

The Sustainable Development Initiative, in its 1999 publication Smart Signals: Economics for Lasting Progress, also suggests several principles for rethinking and reforming government policies and programs to correct errant economic signals.

The 10 characteristics of policies likely to make positive contributions to sustainable development are outlined in Investing in Minnesota's Future.

Minnesotans face a series of profound challenges if they are to pass on a high quality life to their children and grandchildren. The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development laid out six challeges to sustainable development in Minnesota and developed one or more critical steps and strategies for each challenge.


Seeking to sustain prosperity over time by linking business and the environment
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2005
Document type(s):