What is sustainability?
Sustainability is a very widespread term these days. But what it exactly means is not always clear, and different people and businesses mean different things when they talk about it. As such, we think it is important to be clear about what we mean when we talk about sustainability, and about sustainable business.
The three Pís: People, Planet, Profit
Several definitions of sustainability consider three pillars that, when all there, support a sustainable future.
These pillars are economic (profit), environmental (planet) and social (people).
In short, this means that a solution, a business, a policy, etc. is sustainable if and only if it is economically feasible, does not deplete the earths
resources and is based on sound principles regarding human rights and equality.
In its essence, sustainability means something can be sustained indefinitely. So the question to answer is: Can we carry this activity on into infinity,
or will we eventually run into some limit that prevents us from doing so?
Why is business important?
Because business is one of the central elements of our daily lives, and our society at large. Without it, we would be hard pressed to provide the worlds population with the goods they need. As such, it is hard to imagine a sustainable society without sustainable business.
How can we make business more sustainable?
There are several points of action that can contribute to making business more sustainable. Five important ones, that we seek to contribute to, are:
- Efficient use of material resources, including reusing and recycling efforts
- Efficient use of energy
- Responsible management of waste streams
- Education and training
- Exchanging ideas, knowledge and technologies