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


Verizon Ups Its Green Energy Commitment by Another $40 Million

With its latest increase of capital for green energy, Verizon is now poised to become the nation's top solar-producing communications company. The latest…
[Image Credit: Jovan Julien,]

Collecting Discarded Plastic (and Data) For That T-Shirt

Thread, a Pittsburgh-based B Corp, is employing hundreds of people living in impoverished regions to pick up discarded plastic bottles, which they then…

Sacred Business Beyond Capitalism

Capitalism is only a particular manifestation of the way business may be conducted. In fact, some may view it as a corruption of…
A buddhist monk rests in Sra Damrei, a peaceful spot in the Phnom Kulen mountain where the monks have been coming to meditate for centuries. Groups of monks have traveled miles to

Right Action: Blocking a Dam in Cambodia’s Sacred Forest

In another example of the collateral damage caused by the relentless march of economic development, a sacred Cambodian forest and its residents are…
Assurance in the US

Third Party Quality Assurance for Sustainability Reports on the Rise

The Global Reporting Initiative reports that over the past 12 years it has witnessed “a tremendous and rapid uptake of sustainability reporting, and…

A Proud Day To Be A Hockey Fan: NHL Releases First Sustainability Report

The NHL's report is the first of its kind in major professional sports, and its scope and ambition are impressive.

New Ethical Shopping App features CSRHub Sustainability Ratings

Ethical Barcode has released a new sustainability ratings app powered by the CSRHub API that lets you uncover what you're truly supporting when…

The A to Z of Unusual Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy sources are becoming more mainstream, which has given rise to research into more renewable sources. Outside of the more commonplace solar,…

Look Deep Into Nature And You Will Find the Answers

In our desire to understand, define and categorize life, we have tended towards a logic that sets things apart from each other; we…
Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman grew his mission driven enterprise from a one-man operation to a bicoastal success.

Case Study: How to Grow Without Compromising Your Mission

This post by New Resource Bank's Gary Groff is about how smart investment and debt management enables mission-driven companies to scale without compromising…

Upcycling Gets Famous With New Reality Show Series

One might assume that handling trash every day for a living might be a smelly job. But for the motley crew of designers,…
Students walk through a school farm in Mozambique.

Big Agriculture Looks to Africa

As the world begins to awaken to the looming food crisis, investors are turning to a place not typically associated with its agricultural…
climate change

Ceres: Half of America’s Largest Companies Don’t Report on Climate Risk

Regarding climate change risk, “roughly half of the 3,000 biggest publicly traded companies in the U.S. say mum’s the word, reporting zilch in…

Ford and the Sustainability of the Family Legacy

How does family legacy drive sustainability? Ask Ford Motor Company.

6 Ways to Turn Your Corporate Event Sustainable

Stay at the forefront of society by making small changes to your corporate events that will have long-lasting positive effects on the environment…