Are you searching for sustainable businesses to support? There is a lot of talk lately surrounding “sustainability” and many businesses and individuals infer that they are working towards sustainable goals. But what exactly does being sustainable mean? Often when we hear about sustainability it is in reference to reducing your environmental impact or carbon footprint but in the search for a definition, we can find this one:
“Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
So yes the environment is an important factor in sustainability, as we do not really want to deplete the environment for our future generations, but there is also so much more to consider.
The UN has actually released a set of Sustainable Development Goals; they call it “17 goals to transform our world.” These goals include:
1: No Poverty
2: Zero Hunger
3: Good Health and Well-being
4: Quality Education
5: Gender Equality
6: Clean Water and Sanitation
7: Affordable and Clean Energy
8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10: Reduced Inequalities
11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
12: Responsible Consumption and Production
13: Climate Action
14: Life Below Water
15: Life on Land
16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17: Partnerships for the Goals
This set of goals was adopted almost three years ago and each goal has specific targets to be achieved over 15 years with the intention to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.”
So we can see that sustainability is more than just the environment, it also needs to consider economic and social factors. In regards to business we can see this referred to as “triple bottom line” or “people, planet and profits”. Yes there still needs to be profit, as this maintains the business and keeps the business itself sustainable, but it shouldn’t be the only performance indicator for a business.
In order to understand if a business truly is working towards sustainability, there needs to be transparency from that business. We need to look at more than just their environmental impact, and also see if they are creating a positive social impact.
Are they paying their workers or producers a fair wage?
Are they supporting their workers and the local community?
Are they making changes to reduce their environmental impact?
What businesses do you know that are working on triple bottom line sustainability?