What is Sustainability? Why Is It So Important?
What is Sustainability? Why Is It So Important?
What is Sustainability? Why Is It So Important?

What Does Sustainability Mean?

Sustainability is the ability to exist and develop for the future without depleting natural resources.

The United Nations defined sustainable development in the Brundtland Report as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It assumes that resources are limited and therefore must be used conservatively and carefully to ensure enough resources for future generations without degrading the current quality of life. A sustainable society must be socially responsible, focusing on environmental protection and dynamic balance in human and natural systems.

Why Is Sustainability Important?

Sustainability has many benefits, both in the short and long term. Without more sustainable choices, we cannot protect our Earth's ecosystems or continue to operate as we do. If harmful processes continue without change, our fossil fuels will likely run out, many animal species will become extinct, and the atmosphere will be irreparably damaged. Clean air and non-toxic atmosphere conditions, growth of trusted resources, and water quality and cleanliness are sustainability benefits.

What are the 3 Basic Principles of Sustainability?

There are three main phenomena that sustainability focuses on; environmental, social, and economic. Also known informally as profit, planet, and people. These facts are particularly relevant to corporate sustainability and the efforts made by companies.

Environmental protection is the most discussed element. It reduces carbon footprints, water use, non-degradable packaging, and waste processes as part of the supply chain. These processes can often be cost-effective and financially beneficial and can be crucial to environmental sustainability.

Social development is about treating employees fairly and providing responsible, ethical, and sustainable treatment to employees, stakeholders, and the community in which a business operates. This can be achieved through more responsive benefits such as better maternity and paternity benefits, flexible scheduling, and learning and development opportunities. For example, the business should operate using a sustainable workforce that includes fairly paid, adult employees who can work in a safe environment.

Economic development is probably the simplest form of sustainability. A business must be profitable and generate enough revenue to continue to be economically sustainable. The challenge with this form of sustainability is reaching a balance. Rather than making money at all costs, companies should seek to generate profits in line with other aspects of sustainability. Focusing on social and environmental sustainability alongside economic performance is often referred to as the Triple Outcome.

How Can Sustainability Be Measured?

Sustainability is measured by evaluating the performance of the three fundamental principles together, especially the balanced treatment of all three. These three core principles of the Triple Bottom Line do not in themselves provide a measurement system, but current methods of measuring sustainability have sought to measure sustainability through them. Although there is no official universal measure of sustainability, many organizations develop industry-specific tools and practices to evaluate how social, environmental, and economic principles operate as part of a company.

How Sustainability Affects Business World

The Triple Result approach to running a company is beneficial for businesses in several ways. Meeting UN environmental sustainability standards are not only ethical and essential; it is also economical and enables a more robust business model. In addition, sustainability empowers an organization to attract and share employees, shareholders, and customers who invest in its sustainability goals. The impact of sustainability can therefore be positive for a business's image and revenue.

Is Sustainability an Attainable Goal?

  • In 2018, the EU Commission published six key transformation recommendations. If implemented correctly, these steps will lead to better sustainability with the current 2050 target.
  • Sustainable development is not just an environmental issue, also a social issue. Therefore, education and health services need to be improved to earn higher incomes and make better environmental decisions.
  • The importance of doing more with fewer resources through responsible consumption and production is essential for adopting a circular economy and reducing demand.
  • Decarbonising the energy industry through clean energy sources and renewable processes will ensure clean and affordable energy for all.
  • There must be food and clean water for all while protecting the biosphere and oceans, requiring efficient and sustainable food systems, which can be achieved by increasing agricultural productivity and reducing meat consumption.
  • Smart cities: Settlement patterns must be transformed for the good of the population and the environment, which can be done through 'smart' infrastructure and internet connectivity.
  • A digital revolution in science, technology, and innovation will be necessary to support sustainable development as the world will use the development of Information Technology to facilitate sustainability.

The Future of Sustainability

With the climate crisis, a current movement towards sustainability as a more attractive priority for businesses as people begin to lead more sustainable lives. In the future, positive impact on climate, improved impact on the environment, people, atmosphere, and productive inputs on society across the entire value chain are likely to be prospects for businesses. Companies will be held accountable for all aspects of the industry, and any environmental damage or harmful emissions should be limited or removed from productive processes.

In addition, it is expected to reuse resources to accommodate the global increase in population, commonly referred to as the "circular economy." This change will allow one person's waste to become another's source in a process that will drastically reduce waste and create a more efficient supply chain.