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

Sierra Club’s Nukespeak Revives the Nuclear Debate

It was nearly 30 years ago, in the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, when the classic Nukespeak from Sierra Club…

Shaw’s Supermarkets Launches Sustainable Seafood Program

Last month, Shaw’s Supermarkets, owned by SUPERVALU, launched a sustainable seafood program in partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Gulf…
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GRI’s New Database Makes Sustainability Reports More Valuable

Want to learn more? Consider a GRI-certified course in sustainability reporting. Click here to see upcoming cities! One of the most difficult things…
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UN Report Says Developing Countries Will See Reverse Economic Growth by 2050

The United Nations recently released a Human Development Report that brings to light the global challenges of sustainability and equity. The report points out…
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Mountain Riders Alliance: Skiers Founding a Movement through Social Media

How the power of social media has been leveraged to found a movement that is seeking to revolutionize the ski industry. The buzz…
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Behind-the-Scenes at Net Impact 2011

Last week at the 2011 Net Impact Conference, many attendees were questioning certain operational aspects of the conference. In an effort to better…
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BSR Survey Finds Sustainability, Human Rights Top Business Concerns

BSR, led by President and CEO Aron Cramer, held a media event announcing the results of a global business survey poll that reveals…
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Trendwatch: Luxury Brands Improve Sustainability of Packaging

One of the visual clues that attracts a customer to a product is the packaging. It is also packaging that sets apart drugstore…

Shipping Industry Gets Serious About Sustainability

Shipping lines, shipbuilders, banks, insurers and shippers have joined forces on a major sustainability initiative “designed to help the industry make long-term plans…

Coffee, Tea, Wine and Beer: Sustainability in the Beverage Industry

A panel at the 2011 Net Impact Conference in Portland, OR featured professionals from the local beverage industry discussing ways they approach sustainability.
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Social Media is a Conversation

As pervasive as social media may be, what does social media really do? How can it benefit sustainability?
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Leading Sustainability Consultancy Emphasizes the Importance of Value Chain Management

The Tomorrow’s Value Ratings  (TVR) is out with some surprising findings about the state of sustainable business. TVR is an annual assessment of corporate sustainability…
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REI President and CEO Sally Jewell Opens Net Impact Conference

By Jacen Greene After a five-week trip to climb mountains in Antarctica—including several first ascents—answering questions for an audience of more than 2000…
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Vertical Folding Containers Reduce Wasted Ship Space

Staxxon, a development-stage start-up based in Montclair, NJ, has developed a vertical folding container. The Staxxon system allows a standard 20-foot container to…
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The Practices of Systemic Sustainability

Systemic sustainability is a process of development—individual, organizational, or societal—involving an adaptive strategy of emergence that ensures the evolutionary maintenance of an increasingly…