Published 10 years ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Currently, sustainability is a lot like beauty — its definition lies in the eyes of the beholder. This author’s preference is for actionable definitions that can be integrated into daily operational processes. The following is an attempt to define sustainability through this lens.
Sustainability is the conscious and proactive use of methods that do not harm people, planet or profit while also leaving a positive impact. The processes used to achieve sustainability must be reliable, replicable and measurable; outcomes must be confirmable, especially by outside scrutiny. Sustainability covers all three time frames: rectifying past mistakes; reducing or eliminating current problems; building legacies for future generations. It is a human-driven process. Machines don’t run companies or processes, people do; sustainability maximizes human talent by harnessing attention towards optimization and process excellence. With respect to accounting and accountability, the focus is on appreciation, not depreciation (aka positive impact). The goal of zero harm by definition leads to strategies that must comply with legal and ethical standards. Incremental approaches work best. Speed is defined by the ability to maintain positive rates of change.
There are five phases and seven processes inherent to sustainability:
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Published Oct 5, 2013 9pm EDT / 6pm PDT / 2am BST / 3am CEST