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

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…

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…

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…

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.…

Are Coca-Cola’s Recent Actions “Unsustainable” ?

Coca-Cola made headlines earlier this month after announcing a plan to collect and recycle all the 60 million plastic bottles that are expected…

Unemployment: Brought to You by Sustainability?

>by Derrick Mains One thing is certain. The economy sucks and neither side seems to be offering any real long term (place tongue…

OWS — Dawn of a New Progressive Movement?

Police can break up the various “Occupy” encampments across the country but can they halt the movement? Probably not. As disorganized, disparate and…

2013 Ford Escape Boasts EcoBoost Engine and Greener Materials

Ford is emerging as an automotive sustainability frontrunner as they step up their strategy, efforts, and product line. One of their new offerings is the…
20111016 PPA FIT Graphic

Renewable Energy Land Leases: How to get a Slice of the Pie

This post outlines key considerations for property owners to evaluate when leasing their land for renewable energy development. There are pros and cons…

Open Letter to the David and Lucille Packard Foundation Regarding Ecosystem Service Valuation

We are MBA students studying the interconnections of sustainability and business at the Presidio Graduate School. As part of our curriculum, we are…

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…
csr report

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…

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…

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…