ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND MORAL SUSTAINABILITY
All the examination boards include sustainability issues (environmental,
social, economic and moral) in their syllabuses. It is sometimes
difficult to disentangle these when trying to analyse the sustainability
of an existing product, and equally when a student is trying
to assess the sustainability of her/his different design ideas.
The activity ‘Wider Implications of Design Choices’ and
checklists in this section are designed to help students to
differentiate, where possible, between the various aspects of
sustainability. They suggest pointers on how economic, social,
environmental and moral issues can be incorporated into AS and
A2 units of work. Specific checklists show how environmental,
social and economic issues can be integrated into students’ thinking
at different times during the development of a project.
It will soon become evident that the issues often overlap and
that it is not easy to identify something as only environmental,
social or economic. It is also evident that all the issues involve
moral judgements. For example, disposal of litter thrown onto
the roadside and in the countryside has an environmental impact
in terms of the bio-degradability of the materials and potential
damage to wildlife. It is also a social issue as an eyesore,
and potentially an economic issue if it deters tourism. There
is an inherent moral question about leaving litter anywhere.