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

Miller Center executive director Thane Kreiner posing with young social entrepreneurs in West Africa.

Social Entrepreneurship and Development: Observations from West Africa

Thane Kreiner of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University recently returned from a trip to Ghana and Sierra Leone.…
NIST Net-Zero House

Net-Zero Model Home Improves Energy Efficiency

A model net-zero home in Maryland reports improved efficiency and an increased energy surplus in its second full year of testing.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

3 Ways to Travel Sustainably

How can we give back to the planet while traveling, an activity that is reserved for the privileged, developed world? Radio host Daphne…
State Farm volunteer moves boxes of food at the Houston Food Bank. How can your company scale CSR efforts globally? Read on for some ideas.

Top 4 International CSR Insights for Fortune 500 Companies

How can companies scale their corporate social responsibility programs internationally -- without incurring extra risk? Founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, Pamela Hawley, provides…
etsy 1

Etsy Shares 10 Social Impact Tips

Etsy not only provides crafts that would look great on your wall and one of the only legit “you can work from home”…
5029203890_5ecfe5a968_z

How Do America’s Heartland Cities Achieve Economic Growth in the 21st Century

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a great town with friendly, talented people. It has a downtown that urban millennials love with an attractive mix of…
Eco conscious business managers

Balancing Profitability and Sustainability

What struggles do environmentally-concerned business managers face on a daily basis? How do you balance being green and making a profit?
14846776262_ab5b464639_z

Decade-Long Walmart Partnership Offers Sustainability Lessons

The Environmental Defense Fund and Walmart are touting a decade of partnership that has resulted in large-scale sustainability progress, with lessons for other…
humane handling

Crawl-Walk-Run: Gaining Sustainability Momentum

In the U.S., consumer awareness, the demand for more transparency and continued compression on margins are providing an opportunity for private brands to…
330726508_fc243e0a19_z

The State of Green Behind the Scenes of Film and TV

What has this behemoth of an influential industry done to make itself more sustainable inside and out?
2919e13b (1)

What Do the SDGs Mean for Your Employees?

We might have heard a lot about the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals since their launch late last year. But Marianne Hughes and GivingForce…
drilling-tower-226710_1280

Why Don’t Conservatives Support Balancing Nature’s Budget?

Most conservatives love a balanced budget, with one notable exception: Our natural capital budget. If the Earth is a business, conservative extraction policies…
Madrid-based ECOALF turns plastic bottles into stylish winter coats.

Simple, Transparent Fashion: 3 Brands to Watch

Transparency, especially in the fashion industry, seems like a vulnerable business tactic, unless, of course, you have nothing to hide. These three fashion…
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) and Christiana Figueres (third from left), executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, celebrate the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Dec. 12.

COP21 — Two Months On: Time to Separate News from Trends

Is the energy transition stalling? Two months after COP21, it is time to separate news from trends. The oil price is down; the…
SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Patagonia Leads by Example in the Circular Economy

Patagonia's Worn Wear program is a prime example of how a circular economy can work.