From the Sustainability Dictionary:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This definition was created in 1987 at the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission). It is enshrined in the Swiss federal constitution. It is similar to the “seventh generation” philosophy of the Native American Iroquois Confederacy, mandating that chiefs always consider the effects of their actions on their descendants seven generations in the future.

There are many ways to measure or define sustainability. As described in the book Natural Capitalism, in business, these should include the sustainable development and use of, at least, the following four types of capital:

  • Financial Capital
  • Manufacturing Capital
  • Natural Capital
  • Human Capital

In addition, many organizations use the following criteria to assess sustainable products, services, and other activities:

Social Criteria:

  • Socially desirable
  • Culturally acceptable
  • Psychologically nurturing

Financial Criteria:

  • Economically sustainable
  • Technologically feasible
  • Operationally viable

Environmental Criteria:

  • Environmentally Robust
  • Generationally Sensitive
  • Capable of continuous learning


Antibiotic Apocalypse Economics

An antibiotic apocalypse is upon us due to failures in food product labeling tied to unsustainable farming practices. 3p economic correspondent Bill Roth…
2016 Toyota Prius (sport)

Toyota’s New 2016 Prius Pumps Up Hybrid Market With Sport And Style

Toyota's new 2016 Prius line adds a generous helping of fun to the hybrid experience, with a raft of new fuel efficiency improvements…
Courtesy of Lovin' Spoonfuls

Global Sustainability Summit: Food & Sustainability

Lauren Palumbo of Boston-based food rescue organization Lovin' Spoonfuls discusses food waste.
DSC8910_kinderenvanboven2 (1)

First Solar Road Surpasses Expectations

Located in the Netherlands, SolaRoad is the first road of its kind to make a unique foray in pollution-free solar energy. In the…
ecuador flood

Ecuador Braces for El Niño

The El Niño phenomenon of 2015-2016 is expected to be rival that of 1997-1998, which caused losses equal to 14.5 percent of Ecaudor's…
Indianapolis is one of several cities adopting 'default to green' policies. Its new bike-sharing program is just one of many sustainable development initiatives underway.

Cities Adopting ‘Default To Green’

3p economic correspondent Bill Roth sits down with Gil Friend, chief sustainability officer for the city of Palo Alto, California, about an intriguing…

What is the Future of SOCAP?

Investors who want to learn more about investing capital toward social good don’t have to wait until the annual SOCAP (Social Capital Markets…

Entrepreneurs Seize Opportunity in Seafood Traceability

The seafood industry has one of the most complicated supply chains in the world, often with five to seven companies involved from catch…
In Africa,

Small Farm Tech: Food’s Past and Future at Work

Small organic farms are becoming tech-savvy. These tools and innovations could be the difference between feast and famine as the global population grows.

More Innovation is Needed in Sustainability Reporting: Consider ‘4-D’

Caterina Camerani, a sustainability expert at AkzoNobel, recently attended the New Metrics’15 conference in Boston, where she gave a keynote address and presented…

How Some Long-Term Investors are Fighting for Sustainability

Last week, Ceres released an illuminating analysis of how some major companies are responding to shareholder engagement on environmental, social and governance (ESG)…

On SDGs, U.K. B Corps and the Future of Sustainable Business

Each of the SDGs requires business to get involved in some shape or form if they are to be achieved. And if the…

How to Rock the Pants Off Social Media for Climate Change

Sustainability has an image problem. It’s big, scary and boring. People feel powerless and disconnected. Most stories about the environment deal with facts,…

Lipsticks, Burgers, Orangutans and Climate Change

Countless agricultural commodities form the building blocks of thousands of products that are manufactured and traded globally by corporations. Over the past decades,…

How Can the IoT Lead to Greater Efficiency and Sustainability?

The idea of a city where real objects could communicate and send messages seems like something out of a film -- but it's…