'The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 1, Number 2, Dec. 2002

ISSN 1602-2297


Sustainable Work – Concepts and Elements of Practice

Helge Hvid, Mag.scient.soc., PhD, Associate Professor
Department of Environment, Technology and Social Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark,
E-mail: hh@ruc.dk Phone (+45) 46742913

Henrik Lambrecht Lund, M.Tech.Soc., Ph.d.-student
Department of Environment, Technology and Social Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark,
E-mail: llund@ruc.dk Phone (+45) 46742605


Abstract: Work is almost totally absent in the debate about societal sustainability and the development of sustainable forms of production. However, social orientations related to work and workplace practices contain underestimated and overlooked possibilities which could be used to enhance efforts towards sustainability. Likewise changes in the direction towards sustainability can contribute to the quality of work.

The link between the world of work and sustainability is examined by studying the origins of institutional changes and organisational renewal towards socially and environmentally sustainable production among environmentalists, business and labour. A common vision of sustainable environmentalism and social sustainable working life development is provided through a rough outline of a concept of sustainable work. The concept of sustainable work will be pinned down by confronting the current concept of sustainability with a classical, ontological, concept of work, were work is seen as the core element in individual and social development.

The article provides suggestions for the development of a sustainable work practice illustrated by a reflexive transition management practice for sustainability and a trade union practice where labour policy and handling of workers interest is linked to efforts to bring about societal change in the direction of sustainability.


Key Words: Sustainability, Work, Participation, Sustainable Labour.

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