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SQM (Sustainable Quality Management)
SQM has its origins in the EU research project INSURED (Instruments for Sustainable Regional Development, 1996-1998) with partners from Germany, Italy, Austria, Ireland and Switzerland. This project was aimed at elaborating a holistic approach towards sustainable development.

INSURED – Sustainable Development. A comprehensive approach  INSURED – Final report

Previously, the term Sustainable Quality Management appeared in the 1990’s in theoretical considerations and in a programme of UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) aimed at analysing the entrepreneurial tendencies in several countries. However, it was only on the basis of the INSURED project that two of the INSURED partners (Ruggero Schleicher-Tappeser of EURES – Germany and Filippo Strati of SRS - Italy) created the “SQM – Sustainable Quality Management ®” system with the associated mark in 1999. These partners founded also a company (SQM-praxis Gmbh) in 2001 to develops operational tools for practitioners in order to support evaluation procedures and decision making processes. Following the closure of SQM-praxis the 31st of December 2005, the trade mark rights were transferred to the its former founders (Ruggero Schleicher-Tappeser and Filippo Strati), while SRS acquired all the tools developed till then through research and pilot projects both at European, national and local level.

In June 2005 the European Union (EU) Council approved the Declaration on Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development which partly echoes the Earth Charter Principles elaborated in 2000. Taking into account these important documents, as well as the results of several projects, the SQM general descriptors have been updated to disseminate the EU commitment to sustainable development and to mainstream its basic principles into policies and practices.

The SQM framework answers five critical questions while comparing the present situation and the future perspective:
PresentFutureSQM aspects (32)
What is done?What should be done?Orientation (10 components)
Why it is done?Why it should be done?
How it is done?How it should be done?
Who does it?Who should do it?Social Potential (16 key factors)
When it is done?When it should be done?Dynamics (6 levers of transformation)

SQM Orientation aspects
What should be done? The integration of 3 development dimensions
  • Environmental dimension
  • Economic dimension
  • Socio-cultural dimension
  • Why it should be done? To integrate 3 equity dimensions
  • Equity between individuals
  • Equity between communities
  • Equity between generations
  • How it should be done? Through the integration of 4 systemic principles
  • Diversity
  • Subsidiarity
  • Networking and Partnership
  • Participation

  • SQM Social Potential aspects
    Who should do it? Institutional Capital
  • Distribution of competence for decision making
  • Budget autonomy for decision making
  • Fair interactions
  • Access to information, dialogue and debate
  • Human Capital
  • Variety of development approaches
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Complexity and change management
  • Attainment and fulfilment
  • Self reliance
  • Skills integration for innovation process
  • Social Capital
  • Local knowledge for diversification process
  • Multicultural cohesion
  • Social cohesion
  • Mobilisation of all actors
  • Shared value system
  • Shared visions of development

  • SQM Dynamics aspects
    When it should be done?
  • Problem understanding
  • Open collective learning
  • Negotiation and co-decision
  • Creation of a shared vision
  • Client orientation
  • Result orientation

  • 1999 SQM general descriptors         2006 SQM general descriptors
    Some projects and publications on SQM