We all know about the problems of the earth’s boundaries: The population is growing and aging from 7 billion people today headed up to 9 billion people in 2050, We use and consume natural resources faster than ever before, Emissions – one of the main causes of climate change – keep increasing and the loss of biodiversity is bigger than ever before. All these problems are clearly enviromental and social issues. But more important, they are economic issues. To become a sustainable economy – which means an “economy consisting of businesses that can survive shocks because they are intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems”  – people must understood that making progress towards a more sustainable society is not only needed for human well-being and enviroment but also for economy. To be more presicely: the business sector. Especially because our society is constantly focused on growth. But if we go on like this there is no place for a sustainable economy: an economy that can survive shocks and will be healthy in fifty years from now.
Why? And what economic theory explains this? That’s where this blog is about.
The economic theorie that explains the urgency for the economic sector to become sustainable, is also known as the phenomena decoupling. Decoupling means an absolute or relative reduction of enviromental pressure (that means resource use and damage is declining) on global scale, while the economy is still growing ( GDP is rising). It is not an easy job to finish, namely the economy is dependent on these natural resources such as materials, water and land. Decoupling is nessecary to become a sustainable society and to become an sustainable economy . This phenomena as described above is shown in the next figure.
But why is it so important for the economy and its businesses? Well the problem lies in resource availability. Resource extraction increased in the last 20th century by a factor of 8 (This number have not been so high ever before).  A sustainable economy needs these resources to perform. This performance is an indicator for growth in the economic sector, and economic growth seems the most important thing in society ( if we have to believe the newspapers). So decoupling is not only essential for the environment, but also for the economy.Besides an economy can better perform when there is social and enviromental balance.
How do we want to achieve this decoupling? Like Kristina Persson, Sweden’s “Minister for the Future” said that decoupling is not only possible – but a must for all countries to achieve. That’s why decoupling has to be stimulated by regulations – provided by governments. But more important, like Paul Hawken states in his book ‘The ecology of commerce’: ‘Businesses and industries are one of the major culprit on causing the demolition of the biosphere, but they are the only institution that is large enough, pervasive enough and powerful enough to lead human kind out of this mass. And I agree. We need these businesses to transit into sustainable businesses. Therefore more attention and stimulation is needed in this sector. This is the only sector that can turn the economy into a sustainable economy. Therefore sustainable business is also important for the business itself.
 Nordhaus W.D. , ‘A Review of the “Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change” ’, Journal of Economic Literature Vol. 45, No. 3 (Sep., 2007), pp. 686-702
 Lexicon, ‘’sustainable business definition’, http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=business-sustainability : visit 14-1-2015
 UNEP, ‘Decoupling natural resource use and enviromental impacts from economic growth’, International resource panal 2012