The contribution of human development towards environmental sustainability

Eric Evans Osei Opoku*, Kingsley E. Dogah, Olufemi Adewale Aluko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Considering that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are interrelated and the attainment of one is a good springboard for the attainment of others, we picture the whole SDGs from two dimensions: i) economic and social development and ii) environmental sustainability. Proxying economic and social development with human development, this study examines how improvement in human development contributes to the attainment of environmental sustainability. We use data from OECD countries for the period 1996–2016 and a battery of estimation methods (Driscoll-Kraay, instrumental variable and panel quantile regression methods). We find that a rise in human development (captured by human development index, education and human capital) leads to better environmental sustainability via reduction in ecological footprint, carbon dioxide (CO2) and total greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, and exposure to air pollution. The findings underscore that human development contributes positively towards ensuring environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105782
JournalEnergy Economics
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Environmental sustainability
  • Human development
  • OECD
  • Sustainable development goals


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