It gets used a lot, but it’s not an empty buzzword — “Sustainability” simply has lots of definitions.
“Sustainability means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Because I get the question so often, I have a couple of definitions that I use, often depending on the audience.
In my own words, sustainability is about balance. There are three parts to sustainability: the environment, the community (people) and economic prosperity. In order for something to be truly sustainable, it has to meet those three categories. It’s not an easy balance. There are often great projects that may meet two of the criteria quite well but not the third. In that case, it’s not truly sustainable.” -Mary Pat Baldauf, Sustainability Facilitator, City of Columbia
“Should we stop using the term “sustainable” as it means so many different things to different people? I was asked this question today in a policy discussion. The term (a bit like sustainable intensification) is used by so many different people in so many different ways that it, for some, it becomes misleading. A food company, talking about sustainable supply chains, a farmer talking about a sustainable enterprise, a development person talking about sustainable development, a politician talking about sustainable economic growth, a social scientist talking about a sustainable rural community or an ecologist talking about sustainable land use all use a different conceptualization of what “sustainable” means, but each often thinks their concept maps neatly across to others.” -Tim G Benton Chatham House
So, What Is Sustainability?
As you can see, there is no universally agreed definition of sustainability. In fact, there are many different viewpoints on this concept and on how it can be achieved.
The dictionary defines sustainability as the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level or the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Sustainable is an adjective for something that is able to be sustained, i.e, something that is “bearable” and “capable of being continued at a certain level”. In the end, sustainability can perhaps be seen as the process by which something is kept at a certain level.
Nonetheless, nowadays, because of the environmental and social problems societies around the world are facing, sustainability has been increasingly used in a specific way. Nowadays, sustainability is usually defined as the processes and actions through which humankind avoids the depletion of natural resources, in order to keep an ecological balance that doesn’t allow the quality of life of modern societies to decrease.
In the end, sustainability has emerged as a vital part of brand position for many companies. It’s not only appealing to their customers, but it’s also a smart fiscal policy, as many aim to empower sustainability across industries and create better products for consumers and the environment helping meet sustainability objectives and goals with ease and efficiency. By using sustainable products or technologies, companies can reduce reliance on petroleum, promote good stewardship of our natural resources, and reduce toxic substances in the environment.
New Composite Partners provides tailored services using the knowledge of a global team to advance the interests of environmental products and technologies world-wide. Over the years, New Composite Partners has cemented sound and strong relationships with key influencers, policy-makers, administrators and advisors within the Mandatory Federal Purchasing initiatives of biobased products by American government agencies to boost domestic demand for renewable products. These initiatives refer to the requirement by government entities to purchase biobased products over their traditional counterparts.