What is Sustainability

Sustainability as per definition in dictionary is the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed. It is mostly used under environmental science, where it refers to the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just environmentalism. Embedded in most definitions of sustainability we also find concerns for social equity and economic development.

While the concept of sustainability is a relatively new idea, the movement as a whole has roots in social justice, conservationism, internationalism and other past movements with rich histories. By the end of the twentieth century, many of these ideas had come together in the call for ‘sustainable development.’

Pillars of Sustainability

The definition and set of five sustainability principles proposed below seeks to advance and restore rigor to the ideas underlying the concept of sustainability. Its development was informed by a number of existing frameworks and was inspired, in particular, by the work of R. Buckminster Fuller.

The principles are articulated in a general fashion but can receive specific operational meaning in relation to particular cases, for example: sectors of the economy, development issues, business strategies, investment guidelines, or initiatives taken by individuals. These principles are expressed in relation to five fundamental domains:

  • The Material Domain – Constitutes the basis for regulating the flow of materials and energy that underlie existence.
  • The Economic Domain – Provides a guiding framework for defining, creating and managing wealth.
  • The Domain of Life – Provides the basis for appropriate behavior in the biosphere with respect to other forms of life.
  • The Social Domain – Provides the basis for social interactions.

The Spiritual Domain – Identifies the necessary attitudinal orientation and provides the basis for a universal code of ethics.

European Union Supply Chain Security Programs
Environmental Efficiency and Sustainability

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