The Social Sphere of Sustainability (Societal demands) can be described as the “peoples” sphere which has to do with the ability of people to function at a defined level of social well-being indefinitely.
The quality of our lives is dependent on our relationships and engagement with other people. No man (or woman) is an island thus, we affect each other and it is important to manage these inter-relatedness appropriately. We need to understand that this “defined level” varies from one set of people to another which is as a result of our differences and preferences.
Some of these defined “social” expectations include: human rights, livability, rules and ethics, fairness, involvement/Engagement, Community development, accountability, peace, social justice, societal support, coexistence, inclusion, gender equality etc. These are the indices of Social Sustainability (responsibility).
A lot of attention has been on the Corporate Social Responsibility of organisations but as individuals, we owe each other some form of “Personal Social Responsibility”. This is to say, everyone has a role to play in ensuring that we all function at a defined (agreed) level indefinitely. These defined expectations may be expressed in various forms and may be liable to change as time goes on.
You would agree with me that the success of Social Sustainability lies largely on the dependence on the natural (environmental sphere) and some form of exchange of services (economy). Infact, some people would say that all spheres of sustainability are Social because people are in control. We simply cannot fulfill all our societal demands and expectations without interfacing with the Environment and Economic sphere…
Nevertheless, can the other two spheres sustain all the demands from the social sphere?
Environmental Management & Sustainability Professional