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

Companies Should Embrace Transparency and Report Sustainability Efforts

In working with a variety of corporations and organizations one issue is becoming increasingly prominent: the growing need to disclose efforts to act…

In Defense of Bicycle and Pedestrian Project Funding

3p is proud to partner with the Presidio Graduate School’s Macroeconomics course on a blogging series about “the economics of sustainability.” This post…
Six out of the 70 Global Sustainability Fellows at the UCI Empowering Sustainability on Earth conference in 2011. From the right: Giuseppe Rotolo, Italy; Gonen Sagy, Israel; Debjeet Sarangi, India; Cindy Chen, China; Solange Teles da Silva & Milena Rodrigues Boniolo, Mexico.

Nature Knows No Borders: Pioneers in Sustainable Innovation & Peacebuilding

"For an intense week we listened and discussed perspectives on the difficult global context for sustainability," said Gonen Sagy. Gonen is an alumnus…
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WEconomy: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Have you ever shared a car ride, lent someone a book, made a mix tape, or traded clothing? Then you’re part of the…
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Woolworths: Progress on Ethical, Sustainable Sourcing

Woolworths Limited, Australia’s largest retailer, (once upon a time an American icon too) reports that it is making “continued progress” in reducing emissions…
Malaysian Jungle Nymph.  Photo by University of Chicago News Office, courtesy Entom Foods.

Bug Bites: Insects Might Be the Protein of Tomorrow

A strong case can be made for grubbing on bugs, but in the United States and Europe there’s a prevalent cultural bias against…
Fried farm egg.

Would You Like an Egg With That?

A farm fresh fried egg is a beautiful thing. Featured on Neapolitan thin-crust pizzas, juicy high-stacked burgers, and now, here before me, this…
Get ready to dump that leftover kimchi!

RFID Technology Offers Sustainability Opportunities in Korea and Beyond

A visit by Leon Kaye to a RFID trade show in Korea gave a lesson on how RFID can play a role in…
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Nike & Puma, Reframing the Sustainability Message for a Younger Market

Both Nike and Puma adopted a strategy of creating a movement around reframing the word “sustainability”. Although both movements were targeted towards demographically…
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Why Second-Hand Shopping Isn’t Truly Guilt-Free

As a long term, lifetime thrift store shopper, I have always taken great satisfaction in my ability to build wardrobes without paying retail…

Puma Updates Environmental Profit & Loss Statement

Releasing a profit and loss statement on the environmental and social impact of a company’s performance is a bold move. First of all,…

How Social Enterprises Can Pick Up Where the System Leaves Off

Social enterprises are picking up the where the system is leaving off, investing in human beings and equipping them with the tools to…
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Local or Global: Sustainable Thinking by Avoiding Either/Or Thinking

I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or…
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Walmart’s UK Arm Saves $110 million Through CSR Initiatives

British supermarket chain, ASDA has learned a lot from its parent company, Walmart, to boost its sustainability ratings. Their CSR initiatives saw some…
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Time is Running Out: Nike’s Three Tips for Taking Sustainability to Scale

For the most part, the goal of convincing mainstream businesses of the value of engaging in corporate social responsibility efforts has been achieved.…