Why is Sustainability so important? Today’s Executives recognize that what has been a common practice is not a sustainable practice now. Since the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century, countries began their industrial growth rapidly, based on their resources, and at the expense their environment. Conservation practices were never considered, nor seldom applied. Today, many Third World countries do not have a sustainable existence for their current population let alone the next generation (i.e., Haiti). Lacking recognition of our ecosystem’s degradation, endangered species, contemporary potable water issues, air pollution, Sustainability holistically recognizes commercial transformation within the constraints of limited and finite resources.
Sustainability addresses the importance of economic, environmental and social influences on your corporation. Sustainability also recognizes constraints that are probably not on your dashboards and will have strategic impacts [i.e., energy supplies, population growth, global competition, emerging markets, trade barriers, limits on resources, etc.]. Sustainability, in a general sense, is the capacity to maintain a certain process or state indefinitely. The concept of sustainability applies to all aspects of life on Earth and is commonly defined within ecological, social and economic contexts. To be sustainable, regardless of context, the Earth’s resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished.
This also includes Sustainable development. It is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future. The term was originated by the Brundtland Commission which has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
In another sense, Sustainability and Green Power are synonymous. Although sometimes the term “green power” is used as a subset of renewable energy and represents those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit. EPA defines green power as electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources. Customers often buy green power for avoided environmental impacts and its greenhouse gas reduction benefits.
In the future, five years from now, the landscape will change and we will see the impact of off-shore drilling, re-aligning energy for specific purposes [i.e., natural gas, ethanol and biodeisel for transportation instead of gasoline, oil for heating, plastics, lubricants, etc.] and the development of wind, wave and geothermal technologies as a renewable source of electricity.
SOURCE: The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), was convened by the United Nations in 1983.