Abstract The paper substantiates the prospects and discusses the consequences of using the econophysical approach to consider the problems of sustainable development and safety. This approach is based on the analysis of energy, substance and information flows between the environment and the system (object), and between the constituent parts (compartments) of the system (object) under consideration, the sustainable development and safety of which must be ensured. It is shown that it is effective to use the author's concept of the biospheric (ecological) price, based on the definition of the concept of development and consideration of developing systems using such a physical characteristic as free energy. Energy effects are discussed during the implementation of a particular process within the framework of the chosen system of consideration. Energy costs or income from the implementation of this process for the selected system under consideration can be interpreted as the ecological cost (ecological price) of the process for the analyzed system, and on a biospheric scale as the biospheric cost (biospheric price). The properties of the ecological price are discussed, among which one of the most important is the property of relativity. Accounting for this property makes it possible to analyze the emergence of subjective opinions and contradictions in assessing the processes occurring in socio-economic systems. The concepts of cost, the price of an object and the efficiency of a device or technology are discussed from the point of view of energy and monetary analysis. Comparison of these two approaches led to the conclusion that energy consideration makes it possible to answer some questions that are not properly resolved in monetary analysis and makes it possible to assess the prospects for innovative development.