Perhaps the weakest aspect of the 'triple bottom line' understanding of sustainable development has been the 'economic' dimension. Much of the thinking about the appropriate 'political economy' to underpin sustainable development has been either utopian (as in some 'green' political views) or 'business as usual' approaches. This article suggests that 'ecological modernisation' is the dominant conceptualisation of 'sustainable development' within the UK, and illustrates this by looking at some key 'sustainable development' policy documents from the UK Government. While critical of the reformist 'policy telos' of ecological modernisation, supporters of more radical versions of sustainable development need to also be aware of the strategic opportunities of this policy discourse. In particular, the article suggests that the discourse of 'economic security' ought to be used as a way of articulating a radical, robust and principled understanding of sustainable development, which offers a normatively compelling and policy-relevant path to outlining a 'green political economy' to underpin sustainable development.
Keywords: green political economy, sustainable development, economic security, ecological modernisation, sustainability, green economics