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Definition of Sustainability

Green Grass and Lung Shape

5th October 2023-

Some may or may not have read the Brundtland Commission’s definition of Sustainability.

But, surprisingly even to this day it holds true despite a rapid evolution of the concept.

However, I would like to put my two pence worth as to the definition of sustainability:

“The ability for individuals, organisations, and governments to collaboratively continue to

operate within the existing financial system while positively contributing and minimising

impacts on both the environment and society”

What I mean by this; is that we currently need to fit within the existing financial system, that

governs modern society, but we also must unconditionally acknowledge that resources are

limited and that we need new business models that are more respectful of natural

resources and societal needs.

I believe that the two concepts of economic prosperity and socio-environmental benefits

are intertwined.

As an example, we can develop new infrastructures that improve ecosystem services rather

than impacting them such as producing more energy than used and redistributing it or

purifying harvested water and redistributing.

Both the environment and society as a whole needs to be considered in any given

development. The reason is that many projects that may be beneficial for one element (let’s

say the environment) but significantly damaging to the other (here society) and vice versa. I

believe sustainable initiatives such as an investment should be beneficial to both.

In order to achieve sustainability, we need to learn to work with nature and not against it or

without it. Sustainability and ecology and deeply interlinked concepts.

I also cannot emphasise enough the importance of mutual collaboration, as I am a firm

believer that sustainability cannot be achieved alone and that a collaborative approach with

a range of stakeholders is key.

Contributed by

Anthony Huang, member of STOIC Foundation


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