Environmental protection such as packing, renewable energy, climate action, water, and waste management have dominated the sustainability mindset. Today, many people, including experts, thought leaders, and even some sustainability gurus, use the terms “sustainability” and “environmental protection” as synonyms. And they aren’t. Sustainability is a broader concept, and the level of success in achieving it relies on proper understanding.
Let’s study the widely accepted sustainability definition carefully:
“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
United Nations Brundtland Commission, 1987
As Prof. Rüdiger Hahn suggests in the book Sustainability Management: Global Perspectives on Concepts, Instruments, and Stakeholders, sustainability is a matter of intragenerational JUSTICE and intergenerational JUSTICE.
Achieving a society that is sustainable means that it is equitable for all individuals within the planetary boundaries. So a better sustainability mindset would be closer to the Planet, People, and Profit balance, where the People layer has the same relative relevance as Planet. Notice how the relative relevance of layers is different, depending on how these are more dominant in some mindsets than others against the triple-bottom-line:
Environmental issues are more pressure issues today since we all have gotten used to social inequality and its consequences; is it normal? However, that doesn’t change the fundamental Sustainability concept, which is JUSTICE. Natural resources have been exploited, while 70% of the global population lives in countries where inequalities are increasing. The S in ESG is not an optional feature for sustainability committers but a duty they must do. Otherwise, the sustainability commitment is partial. Such a feat cannot be left to the best interests enlightened: if it were so easy, the problems would have already been solved.
So, as a business what now?
This article was previously featured on Rishift
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