THE CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainability is made up of three pillars: the economy, society, and the environment. These principles are also informally used as profit, people, and the planet.
Sustainability encourages people, politics, and businesses to make decisions based on the long term. In this way, acting sustainably encompasses a temporal framework of decades (instead of a few months or years) and considers more than the profit or loss involved.
There are many forms of sustainability, and we need to be thinking not only of a specific area or the present moment. Demand for a wide perspective and long-term initiatives are a must. Here are some of the areas that we can focus on for the present and the future, the big picture.
Technology - The use of electronic devices is growing every day. Nonetheless, these devices are made of Earth minerals extracted by the mining industry. Mining can be a very polluting industry, and the development of new sites certainly impacts deforestation. Therefore, an easy way to be sustainable with your technology is to use devices for a long period of time, despite new models becoming available over that period. Tech devices should also be disposed of responsibly when they reach the end of their usable life to avoid further pollution.
Zero/Low Waste - The zero-waste movement is a lifestyle that encourages people to use all types of resources circularly, just like the natural world does. This philosophy's ultimate goal is to avoid resources unnecessarily following the standard linear route of ending up as trash in oceans or landfills. For this, people must refuse what they don’t need, reduce what they’re getting, reuse it, and recycle or compost it.
The Food Industry - Working with companies that grow crops using minimal or no toxic pesticides and focusing on organic farming or biomimicry practices. If it pays fair wages to its employees and still competes on the market, it is responsible for profit, people, and the planet.
The Workplace - The workplace can also be organized sustainably. For instance, companies betting on new technologies and becoming paperless or providing conditions and training for employees to recycle are careful about waste management. Simultaneously, not asking air-conditioners for very extreme temperatures (that create energy waste and emit GHG), opening window blinds when there’s sunlight, and avoiding single-use plastic cutlery are positive, sustainable actions for a workplace.
A company’s corporate social responsibility is a strategy that integrates policies and practices to create value on the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit).
So besides taking care of their workplaces and trying to be eco-friendly along their value-chain, companies with a sustainability mindset are also concerned about social issues like gender equality, happiness at the workplace, and taking care of the communities affected by their activities.