What we talk about when we talk about Sustainability matters very much.*
Let’s start with: What is Sustainability?
I base my understanding on the 1987 UN Brundtland Report:
“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
My personal definition explicitly includes the business sphere:
“Profitably and responsibly living and working today so future generations can thrive.”
What does it mean to you?
Definitions are important because we they reveal our starting points, perspectives, and biases.
Definitions are important to create shared understandings, common goals and aligned efforts.
Since the Sustainability field gathers practitioners from across the business, academic, industry, activist, conservation and environmental spheres, we really really need this.
A Lingua Franca. A bridge language. A working language, to help us get work done.
The non-profit member-driven International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) has created a lexicon project to get us started: