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


Op Ed: Misleading Carbon Footprint Comparisons of Virgin vs. Recycled Paper

Major virgin paper manufacturers suggest that high recycled content is not appropriate for fine printing and writing papers, based on misleading carbon footprint…

Savannah Bee Company is Built on Education and Passion

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Savannah Bee Company, a company that I have been following for a number of years–…
Farmers Market

Less Meat or More Local Food? Sustainability Calls for Both

Last month Andrew Winston wrote about Weber and Matthews’ article from 2008, ‘Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the…
washington redskins partner with NRG to install solar panels at FedEx Field

Washington Redskins Bring Solar Power to Millions of Football Fans

While some members of Congress continue trying to undermine federal energy programs that promote efficiency and clean fuels, D.C.’s own Washington Redskins football…
Johnson & Johnson unveils new corporate social responsibility program

Johnson & Johnson Updates Its 1943 Credo for 21st Century CSR Program

Marking its 125th year of operation, Johnson & Johnson has just launched a new corporate social responsibility plan called Healthy Future 2015. Though…
GM sustainability programs expand to customer care and aftersales sites

GM Expands Landfill-Free Ambitions Beyond the Factory Gates

GM grabbed the spotlight in the sustainable vehicle field last year when its newly launched gas-electric Chevy Volt was named Motor Trend’s North…

The Future of CSR Reporting: Coca Cola Enterprises Releases Video Report

3BL Media and together produced a video that introduces Coca-Cola Enterprise's latest CSR report, which is an example of how the nature…

How to Engage Bank Employees that Lack Passion for the Job

Not all the employees in the banking sector are like Cosmo Kramer. Many of them work in banks for various reasons other than…

Dole’s New CSR Portal Goes Bananas for Sustainability

This week Dole, based in Westlake Village, CA, launched a sustainability portal to give its side of the story on issues related to…
Albertsons supermarkets transitions to net zero this year

Albertsons Shows How to Engage the Unengaged

The challenge for a more mainstream supermarket like Albertsons is to bring conservation and recycling topics home to a clientele that may be…

Carbon Disclosure Project: Leverage Broadband Access for Growth

The Carbon Disclosure Project says broadband—and increased access to it on a global basis—is the key to stimulating new, sustainable economic growth. CDP,…

Lessons Learned from a Newly Minted Certified GRI Reporter

This post is part of a series on Stakeholder Engagement sponsored by Jurat Software. By Mara Slade I consider myself a corporate change…
a group of young students learn about erosion control at fort belvoir

Finding Stakeholder Engagement in Unlikely Places

This post is part of a series on Stakeholder Engagement sponsored by Jurat Software. When a company like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters establishes…

Using Stakeholder Engagement to Boost Fisheries in Scotland

This post is part of a series on Stakeholder Engagement sponsored by Jurat Software. The fate of the world’s oceans is a serious…

Old Office Equipment Finds New Uses in London

London businesses hoping to fit their offices with new equipment need look no further than Ourgreendistrict for their needs. Ourgreendistrict was the brainchild of…