Organizational Challenges to Sustainable Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The concept of sustainable development at present permeates public discourse. An inter-organisational perspective can be used to analyse the processes through which this concept has found its way into policy and programme in four different settings: the United Nations, the European Communities, the government of Sweden and the city of Lund, Sweden. Although visible in treaties, laws and action programmes, core sustainable development practices - holistic, integrative and decentralised processes - guide neither policy creation nor implementation in any of the organisational settings. The prevalence of governmnetalism, standard operating procedures, the persistence of hierarchical solutions and tendencies to separate out discrete issues still create obstacles for effective policy implementation. The presence of similar problems in all organisational settings suggests a possibility of comparative insights to be gained by avoiding differentiation between international and domestic levels.


  • Karin Bäckstrand
  • Annica Kronsell
  • Peter Söderholm
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • EU, sustainable development, standard operating procedures, governmentalism, organization, implementation, United Nations, Lund, Sweden.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-230
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Publication categoryResearch