Written by Gillie Roberts of Ware
Don’t let the bureaucrats fool you: It is less about what a business is doing and more about how they’re doing it.
For such a long word, “sustainable” seems to have found its way onto websites and advertisements by everyone from the service industry, to tech, to beauty products—reminding us all that no one pays by the letter for marketing materials anymore.
Longer still is the conversation around what sustainability actually entails. Frustratingly, the term alludes more to the end result than the steps for getting there. I’m here to contend that businesses are our only hope at keeping that target within sight.
Aside from being used in the context of maintaining some aforementioned action or status (e.g., financial sustainability or the sustainability of your new diet), “sustainable” most colloquially references environmental practices that have an eye to conservation and pollution minimization. However, international development (that’s the field of work related to the growth and evolution of societies around the world) takes a more comprehensive approach, establishing true sustainability as the portion of the Venn diagram where the following three undertakings overlap: environmental stewardship (inclusive of the animal kingdom); ethical treatment of human actors and their cultures; and responsible action, wherein economies are affected at both micro and macro levels.
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