Sustainability means using resources in a manner such that it does not affect the survival of future generations and species. The word ‘environment’ most commonly springs up in our minds when we think of the word sustainability. However, sustainability is, in fact, an umbrella concept that not only focuses on environmental sustenance but also includes social and economic sustainability.
In the modern millennium, we face, what is now perceived, as a grave threat. This chiefly includes the human footprint that is leading to global warming, climatic changes and running out of precious natural resources. This also very often impacts businesses and industries, hence the need for economic and social sustenance grows.
Economic Sustainability is an integral part of sustainability. To be sustainable a business must be profitable. Corporate businesses, multinational companies and industries are now focusing on long term benefit rather than short term Profit. Businesses are more inclined towards renewable energy sources and wastage reductions in order to increase their profitability. Sustainable economic growth will require business to create policies and conditions for creating quality jobs that will stimulate the economy and GDP while not harming the environment.
Social sustenance includes a wide range of principles. The basic concept behind social sustainability is to provide benefits to the community in which the organization operates or generates its profit. It is also referred to as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). In the pursuit of social sustainability, companies offer scholarship programs and even organize learning and development sessions for its workers to enhance their skills. Some start campaigns to raise awareness regarding social issues such as those related to women empowerment or child labor or even health issues such as hepatitis, breast cancer, etc. Many others also invest in education programs especially for the underprivileged or introduce internship programs. Popular brands sponsor community projects while well-established companies set up medical camps or conduct blood donation drives all in an attempt to uplift the community and its people.
Perhaps the most important branch of sustainability refers to the environment. It is the one with the largest impact for it includes every individual. From planting trees to recycling waste and using resources like water and energy conservatively, all will massively decrease environmental degradation and resource depletion. The world is moving towards renewable energy to save fossils like coal and oil. Campaigns to conserve wildlife, water and other natural resources are much gaining attention and are aiming at a better future.
“Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract – sustainable development- and turn it into a reality for the world’s people.” – Kofi Annan