Sustainability Essay

develop a personal definition of sustainability essay

Sustainability Of Sustainability

Sustainability implies that resources are used at rates that do not exceed the capacity of ecosystems to replace them. It easy to tell from this standpoint of sustainability that the current agricultural system of expansion is not sustainable because of the negative effects on the environment. Overall though sustainability is a loosely defined term, to be sustainable means to meet the needs of the present without

Sustainability : Sustainability And Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability is a topic that has become very important in recent years. Sustainability is defined as, “the ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely.” ("Finding and Resolving the Root Causes of the Sustainability Problem", 2014) There are three pillars that make up overall sustainability: social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Social sustainability focuses on all human needs being met and a society functioning properly indefinitely. Economic sustainability is achieving a

The Sustainability, Economic Sustainability And Social Sustainability

Sustainable and Sustainability are used to describe many different approaches for improving our life. Sustainability is about people and culture, our environment, jobs or countries. Could be defended as an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself. It 's about taking what we need to live now. There is many departments of sustainability but the main are three environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability. The term sustainability in a business


today’s global economy sustainability is very important; from the biological aspect to the industries they all play a role on the marine environment. As world population increases the demand of fish rises causing overfishing. Certain laws have been placed to limit the amount of wild fishing to reduce the risk of endangerment. To meet the demand of the population, fish farms are introduced. Pollution and health related issues are part of the challenges of fish farming. Sustainability also affects social

| Sustainability | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 3 | The Importance for managers to understand sustainability ---------------------------- | 4 ~ 5 | The influence of sustainability on organizational behavior ------------------------------ | 6 | Definition of Team

Sustainability. Sustainability Is A Concept To Meet The

Sustainability Sustainability is a concept to meet the needs of the future generation. Sustainability has been developing through the concern of society to the economy and ecology. Sustainability is important in the long run because we live depending on the natural resources that we have so in order for us to have a better life. In our generation we are already experiencing global warming, ozone depletion, greenhouse effect we have to prevent it because it is us who will suffer from the effect

‘Sustainability’ The Brundtland report (named after Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, the youngest person and first women ever to hold the office of Prime Minister of Norway, who spearheaded the initiative which ultimately led to the earth Summit in 1992), published in 1987 by the United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development, defined sustainable development as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainability

Sustainability And Its Impact On Sustainability Essay

Sustainability is a growing concern for many individuals and companies as resources are becoming increasingly limited, hazardous, and expensive. Over the last few years, more people have been informed about sustainable options, which have been easier to obtain and contribute to, as well as wanting to purchase more sustainable options from companies. Since the idea of sustainability is so broad, everyone can contribute in a way they feel is most beneficial. Whether individuals and companies are giving

Implementing Sustainability And Adaptation For Sustainability

Incorporating sustainability and adaptation Introduction: Mayukwayukwa is a refugee settlement in Zambia that is home to over 11,000 refugees (Engineers Without Border, 2016). The town was established in 1966 and relies on diesel generators to power there boring devices (1). However, these generators only run for a few hours a day leaving the community to hand pump for the remainder of their water supply. The design that is proposed in the design section of the report will function all day and through

Social Sustainability : The Four Pillars Of Sustainability

Social sustainability is one of the four pillars of sustainability. It is the least clearly defined as it changes with time, the economy, the environment and political situations. With so many factors that affect it, it is as important as the other three pillars (environmental, economic and political) and should therefore be given the same treatment and attention. This essay will define sustainability, define social sustainability, discuss one key principle about social sustainability and relate

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Essay On Sustainability

Introduction The concept of sustainability means different things to different people. The reactions and judgments accompanying the notion of sustainability range from the opinion that sustainability is simply a passing fad, to the belief that conserving the environment and finding sustainable ways of living and conducting business is the most critical issue facing the planet today (UN Global Compact, 2004). According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, sustainability , in essence, is concerned with ‘meeting the needs of people today, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Regardless of what your personal beliefs may be, it is undeniable that business managers are quickly realizing that sustainable workplace policies can provide their organizations with that much-vaunted competitive advantage in the 21st century. Through this paper, we attempt to understand why companies are increasingly pledging themselves to sustainability strategies, what their key issues with implementation are, and what role can Human Resources play in their firms’ journeys towards their sustainable goals The Business Case for Sustainability In order to become a business (and HR) priority, there must be a business case for sustainability. When seemingly crazed environmentalists at Greenpeace and its ilk, state that the organizations that are the spearheads in sustainable, social and good governance practices have 25% higher stock value than their less sustainable compatriots, it is important to note that there is a robust business case for these organizations to behave in ways that are more responsible to the earth and to its people. Imagine this: You go to work daily for an organization that y... ... middle of paper ... ...if we don’t make our business results, then I have not met my objectives”. To conclude, from my research, it is clear that often, building a sustainable organization is not seen as HR’s concern. However, organizations with this mindset are missing the boat. It is people who are the stewards of sustainability—both within the company as well as with respect to how the company interacts with the communities in which it operates. I firmly believe that HR, as the keeper of an organization’s values, needs to steer some of that to the management and executive team. There is much evidence available that displays the link between a triple bottom line approach and sustainability of a3 company. I believe that HR needs to grab a hold of this cause and champion it. It is often not merely about spending a lot of money but rather making a shift in how one looks at the business.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the concept of sustainability means different things to different people, from the opinion that sustainability is simply a passing fad to the belief that conserving the environment and finding sustainable ways of living and conducting business is the most critical issue facing the planet today.
  • Explains that sustainability is a business case for organizations that are more responsible to the earth and its people. the triple bottom line focuses on the effect their practices have on all the communities involved.
  • Explains that over 93% of ceos see sustainability as crucial business success, with 88% stating such issues are fully embedded into their strategy and operations.
  • Explains that sustainability is a 'people issue' that influences an organization's culture and behavior. many human resource practitioners believe that the hr profession should seize the opportunity to display leadership on sustainability.
  • Explains that sustainability is one of the enduring goals linked to their incentive program. they encourage carpooling and a ‘bike-to-work’ scheme.
  • Describes the benefits of working for a company that makes the world better, and explains that sustainability begins at home.
  • Concludes that building a sustainable organization is not hr's concern, but organizations with this mindset are missing the boat. hr needs to steer some of that to the management and executive team.

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Spencer Case Study: Marks And Spencer

In relation to sustainability, more and more this aspect is becoming very important for a company’s bottom line and for them to differentiate themselves from their competition that fails to establish a sustainability program. In a macro sense, it ethically responsible to establish a sustainability program to identify ways that the firm can make a difference globally and reduce their overall expense and

Sustainable Companies

As companies around the world continue to grow and innovate, there have been many corporations that have implemented sustainable practice as part of their marketing campaigns and executive decisions. One example of a sustainable company is Patagonia. They are an outdoor apparel company whose owner is known n for all the sustainable and green strategies that he has implemented in the company. Implementations like creating a sustainable supply chain or using recyclable materials to manufacture clothing are two examples of what they have done. This implementation has accomplished to purposes; first, create awareness and attract consumers who care about the environment and sustainable practices; and second, follow what their mission statement says: “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” (Patagonia). In this research paper, I will focus on the impact of sustainable practices within an organization.

IBM’s Public Policy

The larger a company becomes, the larger their global footprint. IBM recognized that they were susceptible to devastating the environment with both their manufacturing and services. In order to become environmentally sustainable and remain an environmental leader, they developed the Global Environmental Management System in 1971 which identified impact projections. Some of the major sources that attributed to environmental impact were the use of chemicals and water-intensive processes. IBM focused on a means to more efficiently manage these processes, from storage, use and disposal. Furthermore, they went on to create more eco-friendly products that could be recycled. The EMS policy focuses on employee well-being as well as resource conservation and creating products that have less of an impact on the environment. These responsibilities and expectations are seen on a company wide spectrum, where IBM employees have a commitment to environmental leadership. Training is provided to all employees, who are consistently being updated and certifying their compliance with IBM’s expectations.

Optus Financial Analysis

Stakeholders and investors are no longer only interested in financial performances, they are interested in the governance of the company like what business practices and business models are implemented, social performances, how the company is giving back to society, how costumers are handled, environment and how diversity at work placed is addressed. Hence relevant information must be provided to the stakeholders to assure them that the company has a sustainable business model (Ridehalgh, 2012).

Restaurant Business Case Study

An increasing large number of firms are developing mission statements that also attempt to define the social and ethical boundaries of their strategic domain. Some firms are actively pursuing social programs they believe to be intertwined with their economic objectives, while others simply seek to manage their businesses according to the principles of sustainability – meeting humanity’s needs without harming future generations. For example, Unilever has launched a variety of programs to help developing nations wrestle with poverty, water scarcity, and the effects of climate change. The firm’s motives are at least as much economic as moral. As environmental regulations grow stricter around the world, the firm must invest in green technologies or its leadership

A Triple Bottom Line Approach: Corporate Sustainability

In recent years, there has been a push for companies to look further than the traditional bottom line. While profit metrics such as net income seem to have some of the strongest reaction in the market, firms have now begun to see that their value should extend past that. As a KPMG report on corporate sustainability defined, “…corporate sustainability is defined as: ‘adopting business strategies that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today while sustaining the resources, both human and natural, that will be needed in the future.” (pg.12) It shouldn’t be taken to mean that corporate sustainability is simply a “green”, or environmentally friendly, strategy. It encompasses more than the natural environment. Rather it creates long-term consumer and employee value by taking into consideration the social, economic, and cultural environment in which the firm operates. As more companies begin to adopt these sustainable business practices, studies are being released showing how positively significant the effects are on the firms earnings due to increased profitability and cost reductions. This paper will attempt to explain the overarching concept of sustainability, the widespread adoption of sustainable business practices, the effects on profitability for these firms, and finally the controllership function in directing this new revolution.


Companies commit to sustainability initiatives to achieve the triple bottom line (social, environmental and economic benefits) (Accenture & UN Global Compact, 2013). While companies have increasingly focused on sustainability, scholars have been attracted by the issues such as the financial outcome of these investments, and strategic importance of sustainability (Orlitzky & Benjamin, 2001; Orlitzky, Schmidt, & Rynes, 2003). However, the employee involvement in sustainability initiatives, and the effect of sustainability strategies on employee outcomes are not yet fully discovered. Given the emphasis on employee participation in corporate sustainability initiatives, understanding its effect on the employee related outcomes is critical.

Samsung Sustainable Development Case Study

The concept of sustainable development, a relatively new concept has now taken action into the structure of many present day organizations. Identified as “green growth”, the formation of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index provides a platform for managers to understand what it takes to be a sustainable organization. On the subject of sustainable development, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) sponsored by the United Nations published a report defining as,“Development that meets the needs of the current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and aspirations” (WCED, 1987). Sustainable development is composed of the following two notions. First is the idea of sustainability (to maintain), and secondly, development (to make better) (Bell, 2003). Improvement of our own lives today does not mean at the cost of damaging the quality of

Definition of Sustainability and a Good Structure of It

“Sustainability means transforming our ways of living to maximize the chances that environmental and social conditions will indefinitely support human security, well-being and health.” ( McMichael et al., 2003).

The Concepts of Sustainability

Sustainability is a concept with a diverse array of meanings and definitions – a widely used glamorous, ambiguous, ambivalent and vague concept that is used by different stakeholder groups in various ways. Presumably to avoid noodling over a terminology or to avoid the confrontation with a definition, most widely the concept is broken down a planning process (c.f. e.g. Döring & Muraca, 2010). That is why most common sustainability is understood as sustainable development.1

The Importance Of Sustainable Human Resource Management

57). During recruitment, younger candidates are likely to show higher interest in a company with a successful sustainability program (SHRM, 2011, p. 33). Employers should seek those who seek to include environmental stewardship and social responsibility in their core values (Liebowitz, 2010, p. 52). Employers should also identify those individuals who are willing to work as team, adapt quickly to change, and inclined to take risk while finding creative solutions to problems. Success with new employees depends on early introduction of company sustainability goals; by including sustainability in the onboarding process, employees can relate the sustainability efforts to their job

Pros And Cons Of Corporate Social Responsibility

Stuart Hart, in a business article, discusses the tough task for companies to make a sustainable global ec...

Characteristics of "Green Business"

In recent years, business or green business was no longer an option to become an obligation. Companies started to change their mindset and values to develop new environmental proposals, for example launching second ecological lines.

Reflection Paper On Sustainability

Sustainability simply defined to me as balancing act between the development of sustainability is necessary for both planet Earth and humans to survive. This is reinforced in the World Commission on Environment and Development report (1987) that sustainable development must meet the needs of the present without compromising the well-being of future generations”. The Earth Charter Organization widened the idea of sustainability to respect for a culture of peace, universal human rights, nature, and economic justice (What is sustainability?, n.d.).

Essay On Business Ethics And Social Responsibility

Now-a-days it is considered that CSR is one of the major concerns of organization’s business ethics. Companies increasingly increase their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethical management accepting the positive impact on the bottom line. The vast bulk of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies publish sustainability reports unfolding their program challenges and achievements. These pre-emptive efforts can pr...

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Definition Essay On Sustainability

develop a personal definition of sustainability essay

Show More What does sustainability mean? Sustainability is becoming one of the largest concerns of our modern day society. As the human population grows, especially in Third World countries, but around the globe as a whole, the demand increases for jobs, food, water, shelter, land, energy, and sanitation (Our Common Future, p.46). The rapidly growing demand for these basic and fundamental necessities present new and unprecedented challenges through which we must meet these demands. In order to do this, we must invent new and innovative solutions, as Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result,” the old solutions of yesterday, will not, and cannot, be implemented to solve the problems …show more content… Currently, my definition of sustainability , with respect to the necessities I mentioned above, is to not take more than what can be replenished at a natural rate. In regards to the physical state, I would consider sustainability to be the slow yet steady progression through which growth is always attainable, and risk is managed such that major setbacks are either prevented, or avoided altogether. One way I think of this, is through the example of drinking and driving. It is not sustainable to drink and drive, at some point, the driver either receives a DUI and loses their license, or worse, they injure themselves or others to the point of causing fatal injury. My personal experience with sustainability comes in the personal physical form. I raced motorcycles for 13 years while growing up and endured many injuries; some of which I am still recovering and rehabbing today. Through my experiences racing, I learned that in order to maintain the sustained growth and development of my skill, many sacrifices in my “normal” life would have …show more content… We as humans are hard wired to focus on our own self-interests and individual desires, similar to how countries on the grand scale focus more on the efforts of their own interests, desires, and sustainability. This presents a great challenge though, as we grow by the billions of people, we are not many countries, but one small interconnected and interdependent world. Becoming a singular sustainably developed globalized economy, world, ecosystem, etc., will require global committees to create and institute “critical objectives for policies founded in sustainable development (Our Common Future, p.46).” From all the readings, one of the ideas that resonated with me the most, was the idea to solidify the sustainable development of our world by transcending the original conceptual equation of impact. This equation, Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology, developed by Paul and Anne Erhlich (Ray Anderson’s TED Talk, 2009), over time, transforms into the 3rd revision of the impact equation, or as Ray Anderson refers to it, “The New Civilization Equation.” This revitalized equation, and new idea incorporate future technology,

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Essay On Sustainable Development


500 Words Essay on  Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is basically an action plan which helps us to achieve sustainability in any activity which makes use of the resource. Moreover, it also demands immediate and intergenerational replication. Through essay on sustainable development, we will help you understand the concept and its advantages.

Through sustainable development, we formulate organising principles which help to sustain the limited resources essential to provide for the needs of our future generations. As a result, they will be able to lead a content life on the planet .

essay on sustainable development

What is Sustainable Development?

The World Commission on Environment and Development popularized this concept in 1987. Their report defines the idea as a “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

In other words, they aimed to prevent the stripping the natural world of resources which the future generations will require. As we all know that usually, one particular need drives development. Consequently, the wider future impacts are not considered.

As a result, a lot of damage happens due to this type of approach. Thus, the longer we continue to pursue unsustainable development, the more severe will the consequences be. One of the most common is climate change which is being debated widely worldwide.

In fact, climate change is already wreaking havoc on our surroundings. So, the need of the hour is sustainable development. We must ask ourselves, must we leave a scorched planet with an ailing environment for our future generations?

In order to undo the mess created by us, we must follow sustainable development. This will help us promote a more social, environmental and economical thinking. Most importantly, it is not that difficult to attain this.

We must see that world as a system which connects space, and time. Basically, it helps you understand that water pollution in South Africa will ultimately impact water quality in India. Similarly, it is the case for other things as well.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Measures to Practice Sustainable Development

There are many measures to take up for practising sustainable development. To begin with, it is important to ensure clean and hygienic living and working conditions for the people.

Next, sponsoring research on environmental issues which pertains to regions. Further, ensuring safety against known and proven industrial hazards. It is also important to find economical methods to salvage dangerous industrial wastes.

Most importantly, we must encourage afforestation . Including environmental education as part of the school and college curriculum will also help. Similarly, it is essential to socialize and humanize all environmental issues.

Further, we must encourage uses of non-conventional sources of energy, especially solar energy. Looking for substitutes for proven dangerous materials on the basis of local resources and needs will help. Likewise, we must produce environment-friendly products.

It is also essential to popularize the use of organic fertilizers and other biotechniques. Finally, the key is environmental management which must be monitored and ensure accountability.

Conclusion of Essay on Sustainable Development

To sum it up, sustainable development continuously seeks to achieve social and economic progress in ways which will not exhaust the Earth’s finite natural resources. Thus, we must all develop ways to meet these needs so that our future generations can inherit a healthier and greener planet.

FAQ on Essay on Sustainable Development

Question 1: State two measures we can take for sustainable development.

Answer 1: The first measure we can take is by finding economical methods for salvaging hazardous industrial wastes. Next, we must encourage afforestation.

Question 2: What is the aim of sustainable development?

Answer 2 : The aim of sustainable development is to maximise human well-being or quality of life without having to risk the life support system.


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Essay on Sustainable Development: Samples in 250, 300 and 500 Words

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  • Updated on  
  • Nov 18, 2023

Essay on Sustainable Development

On 3rd August 2023, the Indian Government released its Net zero emissions target policy to reduce its carbon footprints. To achieve the sustainable development goals (SDG) , as specified by the UN, India is determined for its long-term low-carbon development strategy. Selfishly pursuing modernization, humans have frequently compromised with the requirements of a more sustainable environment.

As a result, the increased environmental depletion is evident with the prevalence of deforestation, pollution, greenhouse gases, climate change etc. To combat these challenges, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in 2019. The objective was to improve air quality in 131 cities in 24 States/UTs by engaging multiple stakeholders.

‘Development is not real until and unless it is sustainable development.’ – Ban Ki-Moon

The concept of Sustainable Development in India has even greater relevance due to the controversy surrounding the big dams and mega projects and related long-term growth. Since it is quite a frequently asked topic in school tests as well as competitive exams , we are here to help you understand what this concept means as well as the mantras to drafting a well-written essay on Sustainable Development with format and examples.

This Blog Includes:

What is sustainable development, 250-300 words essay on sustainable development, 300 words essay on sustainable development, 500 words essay on sustainable development, introduction, conclusion of sustainable development essay, importance of sustainable development, examples of sustainable development.

As the term simply explains, Sustainable Development aims to bring a balance between meeting the requirements of what the present demands while not overlooking the needs of future generations. It acknowledges nature’s requirements along with the human’s aim to work towards the development of different aspects of the world. It aims to efficiently utilise resources while also meticulously planning the accomplishment of immediate as well as long-term goals for human beings, the planet as well and future generations. In the present time, the need for Sustainable Development is not only for the survival of mankind but also for its future protection. 

Looking for ideas to incorporate in your Essay on Sustainable Development? Read our blog on Energy Management – Find Your Sustainable Career Path and find out!

To give you an idea of the way to deliver a well-written essay, we have curated a sample on sustainable development below, with 250-300 words:

To give you an idea of the way to deliver a well-written essay, we have curated a sample on sustainable development below, with 300 + words:

Essay on Sustainable Development

Must Read: Article Writing

To give you an idea of the way to deliver a well-written essay, we have curated a sample on sustainable development below, with 500 + words:

Essay on Sustainable Development

Essay Format

Before drafting an essay on Sustainable Development, students need to get familiarised with the format of essay writing, to know how to structure the essay on a given topic. Take a look at the following pointers which elaborate upon the format of a 300-350 word essay.

Introduction (50-60 words) In the introduction, students must introduce or provide an overview of the given topic, i.e. highlighting and adding recent instances and questions related to sustainable development. Body of Content (100-150 words) The area of the content after the introduction can be explained in detail about why sustainable development is important, its objectives and highlighting the efforts made by the government and various institutions towards it.  Conclusion (30-40 words) In the essay on Sustainable Development, you must add a conclusion wrapping up the content in about 2-3 lines, either with an optimistic touch to it or just summarizing what has been talked about above.

How to write the introduction of a sustainable development essay? To begin with your essay on sustainable development, you must mention the following points:

  • What is sustainable development?
  • What does sustainable development focus on?
  • Why is it useful for the environment?

How to write the conclusion of a sustainable development essay? To conclude your essay on sustainable development, mention why it has become the need of the hour. Wrap up all the key points you have mentioned in your essay and provide some important suggestions to implement sustainable development.

The importance of sustainable development is that it meets the needs of the present generations without compromising on the needs of the coming future generations. Sustainable development teaches us to use our resources in the correct manner. Listed below are some points which tell us the importance of sustainable development.

  • Focuses on Sustainable Agricultural Methods – Sustainable development is important because it takes care of the needs of future generations and makes sure that the increasing population does not put a burden on Mother Earth. It promotes agricultural techniques such as crop rotation and effective seeding techniques.
  • Manages Stabilizing the Climate – We are facing the problem of climate change due to the excessive use of fossil fuels and the killing of the natural habitat of animals. Sustainable development plays a major role in preventing climate change by developing practices that are sustainable. It promotes reducing the use of fossil fuels which release greenhouse gases that destroy the atmosphere.
  • Provides Important Human Needs – Sustainable development promotes the idea of saving for future generations and making sure that resources are allocated to everybody. It is based on the principle of developing an infrastructure that is can be sustained for a long period of time.
  • Sustain Biodiversity – If the process of sustainable development is followed, the home and habitat of all other living animals will not be depleted. As sustainable development focuses on preserving the ecosystem it automatically helps in sustaining and preserving biodiversity.
  • Financial Stability – As sustainable development promises steady development the economies of countries can become stronger by using renewable sources of energy as compared to using fossil fuels, of which there is only a particular amount on our planet.

Mentioned below are some important examples of sustainable development. Have a look:

  • Wind Energy – Wind energy is an easily available resource. It is also a free resource. It is a renewable source of energy and the energy which can be produced by harnessing the power of wind will be beneficial for everyone. Windmills can produce energy which can be used to our benefit. It can be a helpful source of reducing the cost of grid power and is a fine example of sustainable development. 
  • Solar Energy – Solar energy is also a source of energy which is readily available and there is no limit to it. Solar energy is being used to replace and do many things which were first being done by using non-renewable sources of energy. Solar water heaters are a good example. It is cost-effective and sustainable at the same time.
  • Crop Rotation – To increase the potential of growth of gardening land, crop rotation is an ideal and sustainable way. It is rid of any chemicals and reduces the chances of disease in the soil. This form of sustainable development is beneficial to both commercial farmers and home gardeners.
  • Efficient Water Fixtures – The installation of hand and head showers in our toilets which are efficient and do not waste or leak water is a method of conserving water. Water is essential for us and conserving every drop is important. Spending less time under the shower is also a way of sustainable development and conserving water.
  • Sustainable Forestry – This is an amazing way of sustainable development where the timber trees that are cut by factories are replaced by another tree. A new tree is planted in place of the one which was cut down. This way, soil erosion is prevented and we have hope of having a better, greener future.

Related Articles

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals established by the United Nations in 2015. These include: No Poverty Zero Hunger Good Health and Well-being Quality Education Gender Equality Clean Water and Sanitation Affordable and Clean Energy Decent Work and Economic Growth Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Reduced Inequality Sustainable Cities and Communities Responsible Consumption and Production Climate Action Life Below Water Life on Land Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Partnerships for the Goals

The SDGs are designed to address a wide range of global challenges, such as eradicating extreme poverty globally, achieving food security, focusing on promoting good health and well-being, inclusive and equitable quality education, etc.

India is ranked #111 in the Sustainable Development Goal Index 2023 with a score of 63.45.

Hence, we hope that this blog helped you understand the key features of an essay on sustainable development. If you are interested in Environmental studies and planning to pursue sustainable tourism courses , take the assistance of Leverage Edu ’s AI-based tool to browse through a plethora of programs available in this specialised field across the globe and find the best course and university combination that fits your interests, preferences and aspirations. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session

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What Is Sustainability?

How sustainability works, corporate sustainability.

  • How to Create Sustainability

Real-World Example

  • Sustainability FAQs

The Bottom Line

  • Sustainable Investing

What is Sustainability? How Sustainabilities Work, Benefits, and Example

develop a personal definition of sustainability essay

Investopedia / Daniel Fishel

In the broadest sense, sustainability refers to the ability to maintain or support a process continuously over time. In business and policy contexts, sustainability seeks to prevent the depletion of natural or physical resources, so that they will remain available for the long term.

Key Takeaways

  • Sustainability is ability to maintain or support a process over time.
  • Sustainability is often broken into three core concepts: economic, environmental, and social.
  • Many businesses and governments have committed to sustainable goals, such as reducing their environmental footprints and conserving resources.
  • Some investors are actively embracing sustainability investments, known as "green investments."
  • Skeptics have accused some companies of "greenwashing," the practice of misleading the public to make a business seem more environmentally friendly than it is.

Accordingly, sustainable policies emphasize the future effect of any given policy or business practice on humans, ecosystems, and the wider economy. The concept often corresponds to the belief that without major changes to the way the planet is run, it will suffer irreparable damage.

As concerns about anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution have become more widespread, the world has shifted to embrace sustainable practices and policies, primarily through the implementation of sustainable business practices and increased investments in green technology .

3 Pillars of Sustainability

The idea of sustainability is often broken down into three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people.

In that breakdown, the concept of "economic sustainability" focuses on conserving the natural resources that provide physical inputs for economic production, including both renewable and exhaustible inputs.

The concept of "environmental sustainability" adds greater emphasis on the life support systems, such as the atmosphere or soil, that must be maintained for economic production or human life to even occur. In contrast, social sustainability focuses on the human effects of economic systems, and the category includes attempts to eradicate poverty and hunger, as well as to combat inequality.

In 1983, the United Nations created the World Commission on Environment and Development to study the connection between ecological health, economic development, and social equity. The commission, then run by former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, published a report in 1987 that has become the standard in defining sustainable development.

That report describes sustainable development, or the blueprint for attaining sustainability, as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

In business contexts, sustainability refers to more than just environmentalism. Harvard Business School lists two ways to measure sustainable business practices: the effect a business has on the environment, and the effect a business has on society, with the goal of sustainable practice being to have a positive impact on at least one of those areas.

Corporate sustainability emerged as a component of corporate ethics in response to public concerns of long-term damage caused by a focus on short-term profits.

This view of responsibility encourages businesses to balance long-term benefits with immediate returns, and the goal of pursuing inclusive and environmentally sound objectives. This covers a broad array of possible practices . Cutting emissions, lowering energy usage, sourcing products from fair-trade organizations, and ensuring their physical waste is disposed of properly and with a smaller carbon footprint would qualify as moves toward sustainability.

Companies have also set sustainability goals such as a commitment to zero-waste packaging by a certain year, or to reduce overall emissions by a certain percentage.

Many corporations have made such sustainability promises in recent years. For example, Walmart Stores, Inc. ( WMT ) has pledged to reach zero emissions by 2040. Morgan Stanley has pledged net-zero "financed emissions" by 2050. Google has pledged to operate carbon-free by 2030.

The push for sustainability is evident in areas such as energy generation as well, where the focus has been on finding new deposits to outpace the drawdown on existing reserves. Some electricity companies, for example, now publicly state goals for energy generation from sustainable sources such as wind, hydropower, and solar.

Because these policies tend to generate public goodwill, some companies have been accused of " greenwashing ," the practice of providing a false impression that makes a business seem more environmentally friendly than it is.

Cost Cutting

Moreover, many companies have been criticized for cost-cutting measures that make it harder to evaluate their sustainability. For example, many companies might move some parts of their business to less-regulated markets, such as by offshoring production to obtain cheaper labor. This can make it harder to assess the costs of production on workers and the environment.

Sustainability practices "significantly affect" the offshoring activities of multinational corporations, according to an examination of data from 1,080 multinational corporations.

Challenges Surrounding Business Sustainability

The switch to sustainability can be difficult. The Santa Fe Institute outlines three major impediments for firms seeking to improve their environmental impacts: First, it is hard to actually understand the impact of any individual firm. Second, it is difficult to rank the environmental impact of some activities, and finally, it is difficult to predict how economic agents respond to changing incentives.

Sustainable investing surveys over the past couple of years have suggested that half (or in some cases, more than half) of investors say that sustainability is "fundamental" to investing strategy.

Not everyone concerned with investments shares the enthusiasm. In July 2021, for instance, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce argued that not only would environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure mandates violate the agency's authority, but it may also "undermine financial and economic stability."

According to Peirce, the "inherently political" sustainability metrics were "unabashedly" created to direct capital toward certain businesses. In response to public comments and regulatory pressure to look into such mandates, Peirce said that it would be a violation of the SEC's "historically agnostic approach" to regulations.

Eiji Hirano, a former chairman of the board of visitors for Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, has said that there's a bubble in ESG investing and that the fund needs to rethink its ESG investments, according to interviews with Bloomberg News .

Benefits of Business Sustainability

In addition to the social benefits of improving the environment and elevating human needs, there are also financial benefits for companies that successfully implement sustainability strategies. Using resources sustainability can improve the long-term viability of a business concern, just as cutting waste and pollution can also help a company save money.

For example, using more efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures can help a company save on utility bills, as well as improve its public image. There may also be government tax incentives for companies that adopt certain sustainability practices.

Sustainability can also make a company more attractive to investors. A 2019 HEC Paris Research paper showed that shareholders value the ethical dimensions of a firm so much that they are willing to pay $.70 more to purchase a share in a firm that gives a dollar or more per share to charities. The study also revealed a loss in valuation for firms perceived as exercising a negative social impact.

Based on interviews with senior executives across 43 global investing firms, Harvard Business Review has argued that the perception among some business leaders that environmental, social, and governance issues are not mainstream in the investment community is outdated.

The "sea change" in investor attitudes described by Harvard Business Review draws on the increased commitments of investors. The Principles for Responsible Investment, a United Nations-supported effort to bring these issues into investing, had 63 investment companies with $6.5 trillion in assets under management that committed when it launched in 2006. In 2018, it had 1,715 companies with $81.7 trillion in assets.

While it's tempting to support companies that seem environmentally friendly, some companies are less sustainable than they seem. This use of misleading advertisements or branding to create a false impression of sustainability is sometimes called " greenwashing ."

Creating a Sustainable Business Strategy

Many corporations are seeking to integrate sustainability practices into their core business models. Companies can adopt sustainability strategies in the same way that they develop their other strategic plans .

The first step to integrating sustainability practices is to identify a specific weakness shortcoming. For example, a company might determine that it generates too much waste , or that its hiring practices are causing harm to the surrounding communities.

Next, the company should determine its goals, and identify the metrics it will use to measure its achievements. A company might set an ambitious target for reducing its carbon footprint, or set a specific percentage goal for diversity hiring. This will allow the company to determine objectively if its goals have been met.

The final step is to implement the strategy and assess its results. This requires continuous re-evaluation, as a company's goals may change as the company grows.

There are some common pitfalls for companies aiming for sustainability. One of them is the knowledge-action gap: even though many executives set sustainability as one of their core business values, few of them take concrete actions to accomplish sustainability objectives.

Another is known as the compliance-competitiveness gap. While improving sustainability metrics can make a company more competitive in the market, these goals should not be confused with the mandatory compliance requirements that a company must adhere to. While sustainability is desirable, compliance is mandatory.

An interesting example of a successful sustainability strategy is Unilever, the parent company of Dove soaps, Axe body spray, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Hellmann's mayonnaise, and many other familiar brands. In 2010, the company implemented the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, a ten-year blueprint for reducing the environmental impact of its brands while providing a more fair workplace.

By the end of Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company was able to announce major achievements in improving its environmental footprint as well as the company's bottom line. By working to conserve water and energy, the company was able to save more than 1 billion euros between 2008 and 2018. Moreover, by creating more opportunities for women, Unilever also become the preferred consumer goods employer for graduate students in 50 countries.

What Are the 3 Principles of Sustainability?

The principles of sustainability refer to the three core concepts of environmental, social, and economic sustainability–sometimes broken down as "people, planet, and profits." This means that in order to be considered sustainable, a business must be able to conserve natural resources, support a healthy community and workforce, and earn enough revenue to remain financially viable for the long-term.

What Activities Promote Sustainability?

Many sustainable businesses seek to reduce their environmental footprint by using renewable energy or by reducing waste. Companies may also be more sustainable by promoting diversity and fairness in their workforce, or enacting policies that benefit the local community.

What Is Economic Sustainability?

Economic sustainability refers to a company's ability to continue its operations over a long-term horizon. In order to be economically sustainable, a company must be able to ensure that it will have adequate resources, workers, and consumers for its products into the distant future.

What Are the Most Sustainable Companies?

There are many different ways to measure and compare sustainable companies. Canadian research firm Corporate Knights publishes a list of the 100 most sustainable companies. The list is topped by the Danish companies Vestas Wind Systems and Chr Hansen Holding, Autodesk Inc., in the United States, Schneider Electric in France, and City Developments in Singapore.

What Products Are Not Sustainable?

Non-sustainable products uses resources that cannot be replaced or replenished at the same speed that they are consumed. Products that rely on fossil fuels cannot be sustainable, because the resources used to make them can never be replaced. Other resources such as as rainforest timber, fishery stocks, sea corals, and other wildlife can be sustainable, if they are only harvested be limits that allow existing stocks to be replenished.

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, more companies and businesses are finding ways to reduce their impacts upon the planet and their community. Sustainability practices allow companies to highlight their social benefits while continuing to attract customers.

World Commission on Environment and Development. " Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future ," Page 16.

University of California Los Angeles. " What Is Sustainability? "

Harvard Business School. " What Does Sustainability Mean in Business? "

Walmart. " Climate Change ."

Morgan Stanley. " Morgan Stanley Announces Commitment to Reach Net-Zero Financed Emissions by 2050 ."

Google. " We Must Help Build a More Sustainable Future for Everyone ."

Economic Policy Institute. " Truth and Consequences of Offshoring ."

Lartey, Theophilus A., et al. "Environmental Sustainability Practices and Offshoring Activities of Multinational Corporations Across Emerging and Developed Markets." International Business Review, vol. 30, no. 5, 2021, pp. 101789.

Santa Fe Institute. " The Complexity of Sustainability and Investing ."

BlackRock. " Sustainability Goes Mainstream ."

Securities and Exchange Commission. " Chocolate-Covered Cicadas ."

Bloomberg News. " Beware of ‘ESG Bubble,’ Says Ex-Chair of World’s Biggest Pension ."

Bonnefon, Jean-Francois. "Do Investors Care About Corporate Externalities? Experimental Evidence." HEC Paris Research Paper No. FIN-2019-1350, September 2019, pp. 1-48.

Harvard Business Review. " The Investor Revolution ."

Principles for Responsible Investment. " Signatory Directory ."

International Institute for Management Development. " Why All Businesses Should Embrace Sustainability ."

Unilever. " Four Ways that Sustainability Has Made Us a Stronger Business ."

Corporate Knights. " The 100 Most Sustainable Corporations of 2022 ."

develop a personal definition of sustainability essay

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  • FAQ: What is sustainability?

What is Sustainability and Why is it so Important?

  • What does it mean?
  • Why is it important?
  • What are the 3 principles?
  • What are the primary goals?
  • How can it be measured?
  • How does it affect business?
  • Can it be achieved?

What does it Mean?

Sustainability is the ability to exist and develop without depleting natural resources for the future.

The United Nations defined sustainable development in the Brundtland Report as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It assumes that resources are finite, and so should be used conservatively and carefully to ensure that there is enough for future generations, without decreasing present quality of life. A sustainable society must be socially responsible, focussing on environmental protection and dynamic equilibrium in human and natural systems.

Why is Sustainability Important?

There are many benefits to sustainability, both short-term and long-term. We cannot maintain our Earth’s ecosystems or continue to function as we do if more sustainable choices are not made. If harmful processes are maintained with no change, it is likely that we will run out of fossil fuels, huge numbers of animal species will become extinct, and the atmosphere will be irreparably damaged. Clean air and nontoxic atmospheric conditions, growth of resources that can be relied upon, and water quality and cleanliness, are all benefits of sustainability.

What is Sustainability

What are the 3 Pillars of Sustainability?

The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: environmental, social and economic—also known informally as profits, planet, and people. These are in particular relevant to corporate sustainability, and efforts made by companies.

  • Environmental protection  is the most frequently discussed element. It is concerned with the reduction of carbon footprints, water usage, non-decomposable packaging, and wasteful processes as part of a supply chain. These processes can often be cost-effective, and financially useful as well as important for environmental sustainability.
  • Social development is about treating employees fairly and ensuring responsible, ethical, and sustainable treatment of employees, stakeholders, and the community in which a business operates. This may be achieved through more responsive benefits, like better maternity and paternity benefits, flexible scheduling, and learning and development opportunities. For example, business should operate using sustainable labour, which involves fairly-paid, adult employees who can operate in a safe environment.
  • Economic development is probably the simplest form of sustainability. To be economically sustainable, a business must be profitable and produce enough revenues to be continued into the future. The challenge with this form of sustainability is achieving an equilibrium. Rather than making money at any cost, companies should attempt to generate profit in accordance with other elements of sustainability.

Focussing on social and environmental sustainability in addition to economic performance is an approach frequently referred to as the Triple Bottom Line.

What are the Primary Goals?

Recently, the UN issued The Sustainable Development Goals as its main aims for the successful achievement of a better and more sustainable future. They address global challenges to sustainability. The 17 Goals include sustainable economic growth, no poverty, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy , and responsible consumption and production, and it is hoped that they will be reached by 2030.

How can it be Measured?

Sustainability is measured by assessing performance of the three main principles altogether, in particular a balanced treatment of all three. These three key principles of the Triple Bottom Line do not provide a measurement system of themselves, but recent methods of measuring sustainability have attempted to measure sustainability through them. Though no official universal measurement of sustainability exists, many organisations are developing industry-specific tools and practices to judge how social, environmental and economic principles function as part of a company.

How Does Sustainability Affect Business?

The Triple Bottom Line approach to operating a company is useful for businesses in a number of ways. Not only is it ethical and important to meet UN standards of environmental sustainability, it is also economical and allows a stronger business model. Additionally, sustainability enables an organisation to attract employees, shareholders and customers who are invested in the goals of sustainability and share these values. The impact of sustainability can therefore be positive for a business’ image as well as revenue.

Can it be Achieved?

In 2018, the EU Commission released six key transformations to be made. If properly implemented, these steps will allow better sustainability to be achieved by the current goal of 2050.

  • Sustainable development is a societal challenge, not simply an environmental one - improvements of education and healthcare are therefore required to achieve higher income and better environmental decisions
  • Responsible consumption and production, and the importance of doing more with fewer resources, are important to adopt a circular economy and reduce demand
  • Decarbonisation of the energy industry , through clean energy resources and renewable processes, will be necessary to provide clean and affordable energy for all
  • There should be food and clean water for all while protecting the biosphere and the oceans, which will require efficient and sustainable food systems, achievable through the increasing of agricultural productivity and reduction of meat consumption
  • Smart cities : Settlement patterns should be transformed for the good of the population and the environment, which may be done through ‘smart’ infrastructure and internet connectivity
  • A digital revolution in science, technology, and innovation would be required to support sustainable development, as it is hoped that the world will use the development of Information Technology to facilitate sustainability

With the climate crisis, there is a current movement towards sustainability as a more appealing priority for businesses, as people begin to live more sustainable lives. It is likely that, in the future, positive impact on climate over the whole value chain, improved impact on the environment, people, and atmosphere, and productive input on society, will be expectations for businesses. Companies will be held accountable for all aspects of industry, and any environmental damage or harmful emissions should be limited or removed from productive processes.

It is also expected that resources will be reused to suit the global increase in population in what is commonly referred to as a ‘circular economy’. This change would allow one person’s waste to be another’s resource, in a process that would greatly reduce waste and create a more efficient supply chain.

What is the definition of sustainability?

Sustainability refers to the ability to meet the current needs of society without compromising the future. In 1987, the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Why is sustainability important in today’s world?

Sustainability has benefits for the entire world with reductions in carbon footprints and the amount of toxins and pollutants released into the environment. As we see the effects of climate change taking hold, it is more important than ever to seek sustainable solutions, not only to create a cleaner and healthier world, but also to potentially prevent catastrophic changes to the environment in the future.

What are some examples of sustainable practices?

There are a range of sustainable practices that we can employ either as individuals or as businesses. Common, everyday practices that we can all employ include recycling, not wasting food or resources, using eco-friendly household cleaning products, and sharing and donating items.

Businesses can also have a massive impact on sustainability through their business practices, including:

  • Renewable Energy Use: Using renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro or solar power is an easy way to reduce your environmental impact. Choosing the right resource for your business can also save you money on operating costs as, once installed, your energy needs can be met in-house, with little maintenance required.
  • Creating Environmentally Friendly Products: Avoid using harmful chemicals or materials, making energy-efficient items, avoiding single-use items, making items that can be repaired, and sourcing parts locally are all important ways that businesses can be more sustainable.
  • Recycling and Waste Reduction: Recycling is an easy way for businesses to be more sustainable and reduce waste. Other sustainable practices include reusing items rather than disposing of them where possible.
  • Using Sustainable Packaging: Sustainable packaging includes that which is recycled or reused for other purposes. It is better to use reusable storage options (glass jars, for example) where possible and also to use biodegradable packaging materials so consumers can easily dispose of them after use.
  • Fleet Conversion: Using electric or hybrid vehicles will greatly reduce your carbon footprint, while also reducing emissions, improving air quality, and battling climate change. These vehicles could also save you money through fuel costs and maintenance as well as attracting eco-conscious consumers to your brand.
  • Composting: Composting helps reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, while also creating nutrient-rich fertiliser from organic waste.
  • Ethical Sourcing: This business practice involves checking where products and parts are sourced from. By only placing orders with ethical companies that protect the environment and respect human and workers’ rights, you can improve both environmental and social sustainability.
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management: This involves assessing every aspect of your business for sustainability to reduce waste, improve efficiencies, lower pollution, and improve labour conditions. This will cover everything from your manufacturing materials, transport and disposal.
  • Employee Care: A healthy business requires valued and engaged employees. Taking care of your employees helps achieve social and human sustainability for your business with a workforce who feel important and will wish to stay and keep growing with you.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: This involves creating programmes that reach out into the local community and wider society to promote equality and inclusion, foster corporate citizenship, give back financially or through volunteering to help disadvantaged people.

How do businesses benefit from implementing sustainability practices?

Sustainability practices have environmental, economic and social benefits for society as a whole. Everyone benefits from these practices by making the environment cleaner and protecting future generations. These benefits include those for health with a reduction in pollution and for the climate by not harming the environment.

These general benefits are reason enough for businesses to act sustainably, but there are also additional benefits for companies, including lower energy and operating costs through the use of renewable energy, recycling and waste reduction. These companies also create better customer loyalty, especially as consumers demand environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

What are some easy ways to incorporate sustainability into everyday life?

You can bring sustainability into your own life by being a ‘conscious consumer.’ Looking at the sustainability practices of the businesses you buy from and demanding better practices is a direct way to bring sustainability into your life.

However, there are other things you can do too, such as not using plastic bags for your shopping, going paperless with your documents, avoiding single-use items, using eco-friendly cleaning products, reducing food waste, and sharing items with your neighbours, as well as reusing, recycling and donating unwanted items.

These are just some of the practical and easy ways you can bring more sustainability into your life.

What is the role of sustainability in economic growth?

Economic growth is not truly possible in the long term without sustainability. Of course, it is possible to ignore environmental and sustainability issues but this will only lead to short-term gains. An economy that exists alongside the natural resources we require for many goods and services creates a stronger long-term economic and social model.  This includes looking after water, waste, energy and food.

How does sustainability impact our health and well-being?

Our mental and physical health is intrinsically tied to our surrounding natural and built environments. Promoting sustainability helps create the better environments in which we can thrive, while also conserving resources for future generations, so social justice and a high quality of life can be enjoyed by people in the future.

Can a business be profitable and still be sustainable?

Evidence shows that sustainability equals higher levels of profitability. An April 2023 report from Bain & Company and EcoVadis investigated 10,000 companies across a range of countries and sectors, finding that, in most cases, those working to improve their societal and environmental impact recorded growth in revenue and earnings. The report also reported that there was “no strong negative correlation” for those working more sustainably.

In addition, those companies with good sustainability tend to have fairer pay and safer working environments, with a happier workforce too. This workforce is likely to be more efficient and satisfied at work as a result, leading to increased loyalty among employees and less risk of losing talent to rival businesses. Sustainability also equals renewable energy use and improved energy efficiencies, which can reduce costs.

Sustainability is not just a matter of ‘doing the right thing’ for society but can also lead to greater profits, lower costs, improved employee satisfaction and loyalty, and positive brand association among your customer base too.

Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is decarbonisation.

Decarbonisation is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low carbon power sources, achieving a lower output of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

What is Net Zero?

‘Net Zero’ means achieving a balance between the amount of emissions produced and those removed from the atmosphere in order to reduce global warming.

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy comes from sources or processes that are constantly replenished. These sources of energy include solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and hydroelectric power.

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