Book review: Rediscovering sustainability by Heesterman and Heesterman

10th December 2013

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Glen Parker

Rediscovering sustainability

Heesterman and Heesterman / Gower / hardback £60 / ISBN 978-1-4094-4456-5

This book is a good introduction to how sustainability is dealt with by current economic approaches. The authors make a compelling critique of how environment resources are valued, concluding that existing price structures are flawed because the cost of goods and services fail to adequately account for the depletion of natural capital.

They also argue that traditional cost-benefit analysis techniques are inappropriate for assessing environmental costs in policymaking, and that a move away from unsustainable growth is needed. Split into three sections, the book outlines a theoretical view of the markets in relation to sustainability; explores real markets and how they differ from the theoretical models; and investigates the trade-off between achieving affluence now or in the future, as well as the merits and pitfalls of evaluation techniques and policy instruments.

Using a clear and engaging, the book explains concepts for those without detailed environment or economics knowledge, while delivering a level of detail that will appeal to more experienced readers. There are good references to primary texts and other sources, and real-life examples put the issues into context.

Darren Chadwick, AIEMA, is a director at Brite Green

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