Sustainability scares people. It’s like the Cross Fit of the business world – everyone seems to be raving about it, I know it’s good for me, I’d probably love it if I tried it, I know it’ll be good for my wellbeing / staff engagement / team’s morale, but I’m a bit scared once I start whether I’ll get sucked in and not be able to find my way back, and I’d end up being a bore who talks about nothing but Cross Fit, with a big bill and a chip on my shoulder. (No offence to cross-fitters).
There are as many definitions of sustainability as there are world views. The most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
In short – don’t take more than you need; especially from those generations coming after you.
Sustainability is usually referred to in an environmental or ecological context – but it really spans all three of our worlds: our environment, our society, and our economy. (Sometimes referred to as planet - people – profit). Put another way; people happen on the planet. Jobs happen on the planet. You can’t have one without the others; and all depend entirely on the existence of the other.
Despite spiraling into a seemingly ever-expanding area of complexity, the good news is that environmental sustainability is really very simple. It is just this: the efficient and sustainable (or maintainable) use of carbon, water, waste, and electricity.
That’s pretty much it.
At Z, we’re focused on where we can make the biggest impact – carbon and waste reduction.
We’re on a mission to use less and waste less in our operations and reduce the carbon intensity of our supply chain and customers' operations.
To do that in 2020:
For ideas on how your business can start on its own sustainability journey and how to get buy-in from your teams or suppliers, check out our Sustainability 101 toolkit here.