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


Intel Reduces GHG Emissions by 60% Under 2007 Baseline

Intel, a world leader in computing innovation, has provided public reports on its environmental, health and safety performance since 1994 and produced an…

New Program to Boost Sustainable Business in Developing Countries Launched at Rio+20

UNGC and GRI join together to launch a new program at Rio+20 to boost sustainable business in developing countries.

How Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Does Good Things with Flavor

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group released it's 2011 CSR report - how'd they fare?
vivant beer_x

Brewery Vivant: The First LEED-Certified Microbrewery in the U.S.

Brewery Vivant presents a locally sourced menu and craft beer in a can to Grand Rapids. Brewery Vivant opened in December 2010 as…

Down and Dirty with Tar Sands Pipelines

Tar sands: a really dirty business.

The Truth Will Out: Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is a key part of any business sustainability strategy.
HP Lorax Inkling

HP and The Lorax Promote Individual Action to Effect Change

HP's Jeff Walter, Manager of IPG Environmental Sustainability, took the stage at Sustainable Brands 2012 to explain why HP's Lorax campaign was appropriate,…
marks and spencer

5 Lessons from Marks and Spencer on the Business Case for Sustainability

M&S’s new progress report shows the right way to make the business case for sustainability. Although the business case is mostly about the…

Vampire Electronics: Fighting Back

Image from By Jeff Schwartz Everyday we’re surrounded by vampires, electricity vampires that is. While we may not think about it there…

The Global Brands That Could Change the World

Futerra, a sustainability communications firm based in the United Kingdom, released its list of the top 100 Planet Brands.

How Baseball Could Usher in a Greener American Future

Major League Baseball broke the color barrier 7 years before The Supreme Court ruled in favor of desegregation. Today, MLB is stepping up…
app, asia pulp paper, asia pulp and paper, greenpeace, pulp and paper, cohn wolfe, high conservation paper forest, leon kaye, sustainable forest management

Asia Pulp and Paper Announces New Sustainability Goals

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) announced a new set of responsible sourcing and sustainable goals for this coming decade. Emphasis on ANNOUNCED.

PR Week: Saatchi & Saatchi S starts PR, social media practice

Saatchi & Saatchi S, the agency network’s sustainability firm, has launched a PR and social media practice. The agency has hired Jessica Appelgren…

Campbell’s 2012 CSR Report Shows Progress and Commitment

Campbell Soup latest CSR report shows not just the company's CSR progress, but also how it takes its CSR seriously. Very seriously.
Black Star Co-Op Pub and Brewery

A Sustainability Story: Black Star Co-Op Pub and Brewery

Co-operatives are businesses owned by the people who use its services or who work at it. You don’t have to be a member-owner…