Nieuws - 31 oktober 2017

Blog: Define Sustainability

Leonardo Medina Santa Cruz

Even though Leonardo knows protecting the natural environment isn’t the whole story, he cannot help but think GREEN every time someone says 'sustainability'.

And yet, until very recently, businesses thought of the term as the ability to steadily increase earnings. We didn’t start using sustainability in its current sense until the end of the 1980’s, when the overused, almost robotic definition of 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising those of the future' came into scene.

Did you know that out of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 63 are businesses? Trust me, their opinion matters.

And they may even have a point. Sustainability shouldn’t be about embracing our inner saint, whatever the cost. After all, we all want to leave just a little more than what we found. Even businesses.

Aren’t we being sustainable while increasingly endorsing the value of cultural diversity through which communities manifest their identity and nurture traditions in the following generations? Isn’t sustainability also about steadily addressing social conditions that affect us all? Poverty, violence, corruption, discrimination, human rights. You name it.

The bottom line: sustainability might just be thriving in the long term. Whatever that means to an individual, a business, or a community.

Yet, the whole thing seems to be dissolving away in the sea of global fashion. We are all down with it. Whatever ‘it’ means. 

We talk about it every chance we get; we never, ever, accept anything less. But less than what, exactly?

Next time I ask for it, better think carefully about what I’m asking for.