Sustainability

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

Unpacking Global 100’s World’s Most Sustainable Companies Ranking

Earlier this week Corporate Knights announced its Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable corporations for 2013. Is it possible to compare…

Daimler Opens New Car2Go Service in Seattle

Mention the name Daimler, and most people think of Mercedes-Benz. Many wouldn’t equate the world’s most famous manufacturer of luxury cars with an…

Davos Update: SAP Investing $6.6M in Entrepreneurship & Sustainability

Today, SAP made two announcements covering how the company will encourage both entrepreneurship and sustainability.

IKEA’s Goal: Both Affordability & Sustainability at Home

IKEA Group releases its 2012 sustainability report today, explaining the company's goal to be a beacon of both sustainability and affordability in the…

How The Futureproof Brand Communicates Sustainability

Sustainability in products and services is moving into the mainstream. But how do you market it without risking brand dilution or greenwash? This…

The C-Suite Sees the Importance of CSR

Data shows that the c-suite is heavily invested in corporate social responsibility. It seems to be my fate to explain corporate social responsibility…

Climate Change Matters at World Future Energy Summit

Global climate change was not on the agenda this week at the World Future Energy Summit but it nevertheless emerged as a prominent…

Will the 2013 Inauguration Be the “Greenest” One Ever?

The 2013 Inauguration event organizers are paying more attention to sustainability than in previous inaugurations, mostly on recycling projects.

UN, World Bank to Work Together; Show Multilateral System is “Indispensable”

Senior executives at the two international organizations put out a video saying they will strive to work together more effectively and act as…

In a Blow to Car Dealers, Court Affirms Tesla’s Right to Operate Company-Owned Stores

A lawsuit brought by Massachusetts auto dealers against Tesla Motors seeking to prevent the company from selling its electric vehicles in company-owned retail…

Notbox Sustainable Packaging Solution Coming to North America

The Notbox Company, a seven-year-old venture led by former Wall Street financier Thomas Hellman, has announced that it is bringing its "leaner, meaner…

3 Drivers That Will Push Sustainability into an Investment Megatrend in 2013

Three drivers are pushing sustainability into an investment megatrend in 2013: financial investigation, c-suite focus on sustainability, and consumers that are now demanding…

Is Al Gore a Hypocrite for Selling Current TV To Al Jazeera?

Last week Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network announced that it will acquire Al Gore's American cable news channel Current TV.

Policy Points: New Rules for a New Economy

Businesses are free to use, abuse, consume, and destroy nature with no financial consequences thanks to a phenomenon called cost externalization. Jeffrey Hollender…

Will a Tool for Measuring Sustainability Benefit Maine?

Two organizations created a sustainability benchmarking tool to help Maine's business owners think about their work in terms of sustainability and find guidance…