What is Sustainability?
Sustainability defines how natural systems work, remain diverse, and generate everything the world requires for its ecosystems to remain in balance. It was first used in the Brundtland Report of 1987 that is commonly referred to as Our Common Future.
Our Common Future sought to warn societies about the environmental consequences of globalisation and development. Today, the term sustainability refers to the efforts of society to secure the present needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of the environment to provide for the needs of future generations.
What does sustainability mean?
Sustainability is premised on three core pillars that were identified during the 2005 World Summit on Social Development. The pillars or principles in many national standards and certification schemes act as the backbone for tackling the main challenges that the world is faced with.
This is the most problematic issue because many people tend to disagree on political consideration of what would be economically appropriate as well as the implications on jobs and employability. Many people see the focus on sustainability as an impediment to economic development. But this is the wrong perspective.
Economic development is the first pillar that focuses on identifying and offering incentives for enterprises and organisations to help them operate in line with sustainability guidelines beyond legislative needs.
Economic development as a principle is about providing people with what they need without negatively affecting the quality of life especially in facilitating global development and cutting financial burden for doing the right thing.
This pillar of sustainability is targeted at creating awareness and promoting legislation to protect life from harmful activities of businesses such as pollution. In most developed countries, there are ample checks and laws installed to protect people’s health and wellness.
Social development is also about maintaining easy access to basic resources without negatively affecting their quality of life. For example, sustainable housing is a hot button issue today. The discussion is how people can use sustainable materials and keep their power consumption low.
The last element of social development is education. This component seeks to encourage people to participate in sustainability-related activities and environmental protection. It showcases the dangers that we are going to face if we fail to achieve sustainability.
We all appreciate the importance of protecting the environment, whether it is through reducing power consumption, recycling, or cycling instead of using cars when going to work. Environmental protection is the third pillar that defines how we should study and protect air quality and ecosystems to make resources therein sustainable.
The third pillar also outlines how technology is going to drive the world’s greener future. At all levels of human life, home design, transport, and manufacturing among others, technology can be used to help make the world a greener and sustainable place.
Activities associated with sustainability
Today, we live in a modern, consumerist and to a great extent urban setting, and consume a lot of resources every day. In urban settings, people consume more than those in rural areas. For example, urban areas take more power than average to light streets, power appliances, heat public places, and other energy needs. This does not mean that sustainable living should not be focused outside the cities.
Sustainability and sustainable living are aimed at balancing the thin line between competing needs; the need to progress technologically, grow economically, and protect our environment.
If you take a closer look at the concept of sustainability, it becomes clear that it is manifested in all areas of your life. Therefore, its applications are indeed many and varied depending on your location, career, and personal goals.
Here are some of the things that sustainable thinking does:
- Promoting the use of technology for cleaner production.
- Emphasising on equitable sharing of resources.
- Support for efforts directed at enhancing sustainability.
- Educating people at different levels on conservation and resource sustainability.
- Encourages extended utility of resources through recycling and reuse of materials.
- Cutting one’s energy footprint at personal and industrial settings.
What are the business benefits of sustainability?
The adoption and entrenchment of sustainability as a concept in society is an important step in the history of the planet. It created a new way to look at systems and more importantly reflect how everyone can participate in making the world a better place. Here is a list of other benefits associated with sustainability.
- By focusing on tech improvements and renewable energy, it is possible to cut power related bills.
- Sustainability helps organizations to adopt pollution free systems that help to reduce pollution and damage to ecosystems.
- When you adopt sustainability through systems such as clean production, you are going to increase sales because more consumers have become environmentally conscious.
- If you adopt sustainability in your production system, you will enjoy a number of tax credits and rebates.
- Sustainability has the advantage of boosting morale and innovation within your workforce.
The concept of sustainability has become a crucial lever and target for both individuals and organisations to redefine their operations. It has created new meaning and opened pathways to understanding the world to make it a better place.
No matter the way you look at it, you have a responsibility of making the world a better place through sustainable living.
About the Australian Cleantech sector
The future of Australian Cleantech sector largely depends on its ability to link with decision makers and investors to bring about measurable influence and mobilise its own growth.
The aim of the National Clean Technologies Conference is to highlight all Cleantech growth areas including waste, water, energy, and transport and built environment.
The conference will also attract stakeholders from across the Cleantech industry to initiate growth, revolution, and investment. To register for updates CLICK HERE