Sustainability is a word growing in popularity. Businesses and households across the world frequently use this word. However, what is the basis behind this word? Does it hold actual substance and is its meaning the same across all avenues? To many, “sustainability” is simply a buzzword used to gain recognition as a concerned leading organization and approval for particular acts within the company.
What Is Sustainability?
The International Institute for Sustainable Development recognizes sustainable development as quoted in the Brundtland Report, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” There are two concepts: the concepts of needs and the idea of limitations.
The Meaning of Sustainability Can Be Manipulated
The word, sustainability, seems to be used for any green effort; and by “green”, this is associated with saving the planet or reducing a business expense. So you can imagine, that “sustainability” is a loosely used word. In fact, it has a lack of clarity in many organizations.
A sustainable effort can mean reducing paperwork in the office, using less water, or reducing energy usage by implementing solar paneling. On the other hand, it could mean bringing in a new pension fund for employees.
How Companies envision themselves as being Sustainable Organizations
Corporate Knights Inc. recognizes The World’s Most Sustainable Companies Of 2014 as Westpac Banking, Biogen Idec Inc, Outotec OYJ, Statoil ASA, and Dassault Systemes SA ranking in the top 5. They are the leaders in banking, pharmaceuticals, capital goods, energy, and software & solutions industries. This report of sustainability efforts is based on a company’s ability to capitalize on anything financial.
Companies such as McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and Darden Restaurants focus on environmental stewardship and social equality when they speak of corporate sustainability. Their programs focus on waste reduction and water conservation among other eco-friendly programs.
A New Focus on the Way of Life and Business
As much as we figure it may be a buzzword, there are academic and research programs developed by leading institutions such as Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability. This is a program educating and training corporate leaders on how they can create a more composed and sustainable planet.
Small and large organizations are accepting and implementing sustainability efforts into their corporate culture. And society is looking upon their government leaders to develop more sustainable programs. So our leaders are encouraged to create new and innovative ways of sustaining our way of life and the way we do business.
Consumers Are On Board with Sustainability Practices
In this video by Inc.com, you’ll see how buyers are concerned with company’s sustainability efforts. Consumers are concerned with the environment and want to work with organizations that use sustainable efforts. However, most are willing to do so only if the price is still right. Ray Anderson, founder of Interface – the designer and maker of carpet tiles, speaks out about sustainable decision making in his organization.
So as we see here, the meaning of sustainability practices can vary from company to company. The important thing to do is recognize that it is an important practice when implemented correctly. It should combine using our planets resources responsibly as well as reducing a company’s bottom line.