Sustainable Development – What is it and why is it so Important
by Ewa Bekiesch – Permaculture Designer and Sustainable Living Consultant
What is sustainability?
Most of us have heard about sustainability. Sustainable lifestyle, sustainable gardening, sustainable design, sustainable products – just to name a few. However, when it comes to describe the word sustainability, some people get confused. Sustainability has been defined in the World Commission on Environment and Development’s 1987 Brundtland report “Our Common Future” as ‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ (Brundtland, 1987, p.1). The definition and the concept are pretty straight forward and it does not necessarily mean that we have to cut back. It is more about re-thinking our needs and discovering new opportunities. Sustainable development starts at home. Following sustainable living practices means caring about the environment, reducing carbon footprint and shaping a better future. There is also a significant movement in the business industry and ‘majority of business owners want to be more environmentally sustainable’ (Neill, 2020).
What is a sustainable business?
‘A sustainable business, or a green business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact or potentially a positive effect on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy—a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. In general, business is described as green if it matches the following four criteria:
1.It incorporates principles of sustainability into each of its business decisions.
2.It supplies environmentally friendly products or services that replaces demand for nongreen products and/or services.
3.It is greener than traditional competition.
4.It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations.’ (Wikipedia)
Many companies are transforming and re-shaping to become more sustainable. Recycling, minimizing waste, green energy and energy reduction, cleaner production processes are considered to be sustainable business practices.
Supporting sustainable businesses contributes to the pro-ecological transformation of the economy and a better future for us and the future civilisations. We from Permaculture Haven have committed to support ecological businesses in Australia. That is why we just recently launched our new page www.earthbooth.com.au It is a new online directory for Australian sustainable providers, products and services. Everyone who supports the idea of a sustainable Australia can participate. It is free to join! It helps sustainable providers to get found and keeps consumers informed. Informed choices are always the better choices. ‘Sustainability is not a destination to be reached, but a winding path to be explored and well traveled’ (Thiele, 2013, p9).
- Brundtland, G.H., Khalid, M., Agnelli, S., Al-Athel, S. and Chidzero, B., 1987. ‘Chapter 2: Towards Sustainable
- Neill, Pippa, 8th January 2020, “Majority of business owners want to be more environmentally sustainable”, https://environmentjournal.online/articles/majority-of-business-owners-want-to-be-more-environmentally-sustainable/
- Wikipedia, 1st December 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_business
- Thiele, Leslie Paul 2013, ‘Introduction’, in Sustainability, Polity Press, p.9