Several people have asked me to define some of the “green” business terms that are in use today, so I thought I would include one definition a week (some of these are also listed in the glossary of my book). This week, I’d like to address the question: What is sustainable?
On January 26, 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13423, which stated: …“sustainable” means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans…
Long before that, though, many businesses and individuals understood the importance of working and living in such a manner that the capital they used would not take away from the capital of future generations.
Recently, the word “green” has been used interchangeably with “sustainable” when it comes to describing business practices. However, sustainable business practices often include several characteristics including economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility—both in terms of how a business contributes to society and how a business treats its employees and its suppliers.
Many businesses today are trying hard to meet their “triple bottom line” – profit, planet, and people – and most are finding that these three are complementary facets of the same big picture. In fact, in order to sustain or stay in existence, many businesses are falling back on time-honored practices of reducing their waste (i.e. “going green”) and of reaching out to their communities for mutual support and potential sales.
So my question is: What are you doing to be more sustainable? Please let me know!