As Sustainability and Sustainable Development are hot topics in any 21st century discourse, ‘What does sustainability mean to You?’
In simple terms, Sustainability is:
“the ability of a process, organization, system to be maintained at a certain rate or level and continue to be productive indefinitely”
In the context of development, Sustainability is achieved when development & operating practices that meet the needs of present users do not compromise the ability of future generations (or other users) to meet their own needs. This cited definition originates from ‘Our Common Future,’ also called the Bruntland Report.
However, in the context of business, ‘Business sustainability,’ also known as Corporate Sustainability, is the coordination of environmental, social & financial demands/concerns of a business to ensure Profitable, responsible, ethical & continued success.
Sustainability, within the context of Business and development, among other things, can be applied to:
- the environment (planet)
- the social (people)
- the economy (profit)
These “pillars” form the backbone of tackling Global issues as almost all global issues are linked to people, profit and planet. Lately, Peace and Partnership are the extra two “Ps” added to the list. These interrelated pillars form a solid ground and justification for reasonable decision making and planning thereby providing a WIN-WIN-WIN across spheres of our existence.
Environmental Sustainability is synonymous with the proper management of our natural resources. Environmental sustainability professionals have the responsibility of putting action plans in place to prevent pollution & minimize the negative impact on the environment from operational activities.
Environmental sustainability could also be described as the ability of the natural environment to maintain a defined level of environmental quality, support natural resource extraction rates.
In a truly sustainable environment, ecosystem would provide sustenance for human growth and overall functionality over an extended period of time.
Some local & International problem solving efforts focus on one pillar at a time. For example, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) & Environmental protection agencies of many nations focus on the environmental pillar.
Environmental Management & Sustainability Professional