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There are countless definitions of “sustainable development.” Québec, through its Sustainable Development Act (French only), defines it as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition is followed by a clarification: “Sustainable development is based on a long-term approach which takes into account the inextricable nature of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development activities.”

A sustainable development approach encompasses environmental, social and economic concerns that are closely interrelated. These three aspects should therefore be integrated in an organization’s sustainable development approach, regardless of the organization’s industry, such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing or services.

The implementation of sustainable development results from the idea that things cannot continue as they were, that is, considering only economic growth as a society’s objective, and that we must revisit our way of thinking and acting.

It is with that in mind that the Stratégie gouvernementale de développement durable 2008-2013, which came into effect in January 2008, was implemented. It is the reference framework of the government and its agencies to work consistently with sustainable development principles.

On the basis of this government strategy and on what already existed in Europe, the BNQ developed the BNQ 21000 standard on sustainable development and the BNQ 9700-253 standard on responsible event management. The foundations and actions of both standards are directly aligned with the Québec definition of sustainable development and its implementation. Therefore, these standards are the best tool for facilitating the approach of organizations that wish to improve their practices in accordance with the sustainable development principles that are recommended in Québec.