Small Steps. Big Impact.

What is Sustainability

What is Sustainability?

There are a lot of definitions of sustainability created by individuals, groups and organizations. Depending on how you use ‘sustainability’, it can have a variety of contextual meanings. To date, the sustainability industry itself has yet to settle on one definition. There are common themes expressed in the multiple definitions - about our resources and the environment, and maintaining their equity and balance for future generations. Businesses sometimes use the term “triple bottom line” to define sustainability in terms of increasing profits, improving the planet and improving people’s lives.

At eco-officiency we believe that defining sustainability is still worthy of a good conversation and debate. It is important for individuals and organizations to discover and explore for themselves the meaning ofsustainability and its effect on their lifestyle and business operations.

The Earth CharterThe Earth Charter is a global consensus statement on the meaning and definition of sustainability crafted in the late 1990’s and adopted formally at the World Summit in 2002. View the Earth Charter document.

How sustainability is defined by some:

  1. Capable of being sustained.
  2. Of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
  3. Of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.

—Merriam-Webster Definition

“It meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

—United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development

“… when resources are consumed faster than they are produced or renewed, the resource is depleted and eventually used up. In a sustainable world, society's demand on nature is in balance with nature's capacity to meet that demand.”

—Global Footprint Network

“… to create a life-sustaining Earth, a future in which prosperity and opportunity increase while life flourishes and pressures on the oceans, Earth and atmosphere diminish.”

—President’s Council on Sustainable Development

“Sustainable means using methods, systems and materials that won't deplete resources or harm natural cycles.”

—Marc Rosenbaum, Notable Sustainable Architect

“Corporate Sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments.”

—Dow Jones Sustainability Index

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