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

Ford on Mobility: ‘One Foot in Today and One Foot in Tomorrow’

Ford's 2015 sustainability report is a candid summary of where the automaker is today and its goals for the future of sustainable transportation.…

Asia Pulp and Paper Says Its Words About Sustainability Are Backed by Action

The evidence suggests that Asia Pulp and Paper, which ranks among the world’s largest pulp and paper companies and one that is important…

Leave Spreadsheets Behind and Overcome Reporting Fatigue

The pain points are many for companies that use spreadsheets to collect and organize environmental and corporate social responsibility data.

Autonomous LED Lighting Is Driving a Smart Building Revolution

LED lighting systems can serve as a connectivity link between sensors, things, smart applications, artificial intelligence programming and human wearables. The disruptive result…

Over Half Your Potential Employees Seek Strong CSR Commitments

A study from Cone Communications presents some extremely persuasive evidence to support the hypothesis that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the business of…

Can A Company Be Green If It Is Damaging Human Health?

Newsweek ranked Coca-Cola as the ninth greenest company in the world, based on practices like pioneering bioplastic bottles. But one has to wonder…

The Cocoa Industry’s Road to Sustainability

Even as demand for cocoa climbs, smallholder cocoa farmers often struggle to make ends meet. Taco Terheijden, director of cocoa sustainability for Cargill…

GenZe 2.0 Electric Scooter Generates Zero-Emissions Fun

3p's Bill Roth takes a ride on the new GenZe 2.0 all-electric scooter, which promises fun-filled and zero-emissions urban commuting.

Nike Closes the Loop with Shoes Made From Trash

More than 70 percent of Nike footwear is made from its own trash, the company announced this month.

My Inconvenient Truth: Reflections on Al Gore’s Impact 10 Years On

Ten years after the release of former Vice President Al Gore's landmark documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," 3p's Tom Schueneman takes a moment to…

Farmers Markets: A Sustainable Commerce Revolution?

You know your local farmers market means fresh, organic produce. But have you ever thought about what it means to the evolving economy?…

How Behavioral Economics Impacts You and Our Planet

A look at how America reacted to the 1974 oil embargo shows we are repeating history.

A Ride on Carnival’s New Social Impact Cruise Line

Carnival just launched a social-impact cruise line that carries vacationing volunteers to work with social enterprises, nonprofits and communities in the Dominican Republic.…

Ford to Make Car Parts From Captured CO2

Ford will soon use captured carbon dioxide to make foam and plastic for its vehicles.

Health Issues Highlight the Demand for High Indoor Air Quality

When leaks are sealed to improve a building's energy efficiency, air quality inside can diminish. But health-focused green building solutions can solve the…