The concept of sustainable development calls for the integration of environment and economic development in decision-making at the policy, planning and management level. This integration is in the interest of economic sectors and actors as their subsistence and future development depend on the availability and quality of environmental resources. Market mechanisms can assist this integration by promoting cleaner technologies, lower energy and natural resource consumption, and least-cost solutions. This approach offers opportunities for setting incentives to remove environmentally unsustainable activities insofar as the existing legal framework is not sufficient. Policy instruments, such as standards for best available technologies, environmental management and audit schemes, environmental taxes and charges, emissions licensing and tradable permits, as well as voluntary actions can encourage this process. In countries in transition, policy-making towards restructuring will remain far more complex since important problems related to privatization, finance and past environmental liabilities need to be solved.
The mission of the International Institute for Sustainable Development is to "promote sustainable development in decision making internationally and within Canada."