When thinking about the environment in FM, it is worth considering the international report that triggered the whole CSR and sustainability debate off.

Following the 1983 World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a 1987 report named ‘Our Common Future’ was published, defining Sustainable Development as:

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

The report highlighted three fundamental components to sustainable development: environmental protection, economic growth and social equity.

The concept of sustainable development focused attention on finding strategies to promote economic and social advancement in ways that avoid environmental degradation, over-exploitation or pollution, and sidelined less productive debates about whether to prioritize development or the environment.

The main recommendation of the report was for nations to adopt policies of “sustainable development”, and to develop a greater sense of multilateralism i.e. strengthen international relationships and develop a ‘world view’.

This report called for an international meeting to take place where more concrete initiatives and goals for sustainable development could be mapped out.

Agenda 21

As a direct result of this a meeting was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 which resulted in the publication of ‘Agenda 21’, a comprehensive programme of action to be implemented “from now and into the twenty-first century” (hence the 21) by Governments, development agencies, United Nations organizations and independent sector groups in every area where human (economic) activity affects the environment.

Underlying Agenda 21 is the notion that humanity has reached a defining moment in its history.

We can continue our present policies which serve to deepen the economic divisions within and between countries; which increase poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy worldwide; and which are causing the continued deterioration of the ecosystem on which we depend for life on Earth.

Or we can change course. We can improve the living standards of those who are in need. We can better manage and protect the ecosystem and bring about a more prosperous future for us all.

Brundtland and Agenda 21 have given rise to the current importance laid on CSR and sustainability seen today and the global move towards making the world a better place to live.


IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications

This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:

  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
    • FM3.02 CSR and Sustainability in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
    • FM4.01 Overview of Facilities Management
    • FM4.19 Sustainability and Environmental Issues and their impact on Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
    • FM5.01 Facilities Management Developments and Trends
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
    • FM6.02 Facilities Management Governance and Risk
    • FM6.11 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Facilities Management
Find out more about IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications