Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sustainability (Sustainable) Defined

Although businesses have different ways of defining sustainability, in its simplest essence the word implies the ability to maintain a certain status or process in existing systems. The most frequent use of the term “sustainability” is connected to ecological systems. In this definition it refers to an ecosystems ability to function and maintain productivity for prolonged periods. Practically, sustainability refers to the coordination of economic, social and environmental, issues in support of the long term viability people and the planet.

Although sustainability is defined in different ways, by different groups, (ie: sustainable development sustainable community, sustainable society, sustainable agriculture, sustainable business and sustainable production) most of these definitions share a common reliance on living within certain limits.

Here are seven different but related definitions of sustainability: While this is hardly a complete summary it does encompass some of the differences as well as some of the similarities between definitions.

Merriam-Webster: Of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

Life Sciences: Capable of being maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage sustainable development.

Environmental Science: The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance: The committee is developing sustainability standards for products that use energy.

Ecologically: A means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals in the very long term.

EPA: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.

World Commission on Environment and Development: Forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needsn

Business: A project that is of economic, social and environmental benefit.

These are but a few of the many variations in the way sustainability is defined. The one thing that they may unite these and other definitions is the fact that sustainability is one of humanities highest and most worthy aspirations.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.  

Related Posts
Sustainable Business as Defined by Paul Hawken
Sustainable Development Defined
Sustainable Production Defined
The Competitive Advantage of Sustainability: Short Costs Long Growth
Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point
Investors and Global Sustainability
MIT Survey Shows More Businesses are Embracing Sustainability and Turning a Profit
Sustainability Success Kit from Enviance
Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders (Report)
Global Survey on Sustainability
10 Sustainability Initiatives for Small Businesses
The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework
The New Sustainability Advantage
Corporate Sustainability Experts Want a Tax
Corporate Sustainability Experts Scoff
China's Twitter Users Focused on Sustainability
Spring of Sustainability (Video)
Corporate Sustainability Strategies in Asia Part1 (Video)
Sustainability Methodology (Video)
Sustainability in the Workplace Low-Hanging Fruit (Video)
The Benefits of Sustainability in Business (Video)
How sustainability can Save your Business (Video)
The New Sustainability Advantage (Book) Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point
Investors and Global Sustainability
MIT Survey Shows More Businesses are Embracing Sustainability and Turning a Profit
Sustainability Success Kit from Enviance
Sustainability (Sustainable) Defined
Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders (Report)
Global Survey on Sustainability
10 Sustainability Initiatives for Small Businesses
The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework
The New Sustainability Advantage
Corporate Sustainability Experts Want a Tax
Corporate Sustainability Experts Scoff
China's Twitter Users Focused on Sustainability
Spring of Sustainability (Video)
Corporate Sustainability Strategies in Asia Part1 (Video)
Sustainability Methodology (Video)
Sustainability in the Workplace Low-Hanging Fruit (Video)
The Benefits of Sustainability in Business (Video)
How sustainability can Save your Business (Video)
Sustainable Business Methods, Strategy, Management and Reporting
Sustainable Successes and Failures
Sustainability is an Unstoppable Megatrend
The Overwhelming Logic of Sustainable Business
Social Media and Sustainability
Social Action Driving Businesses to Adopt Sustainable Practices
A Sustainable World Order
Five Rules for Going Green (Video)
1. Sustainability Planning (Video): Business Practice Part 1/10

No comments: