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  • Writer's picturejoheneker

What on Earth is sustainability?

We all know what sustainability is, don’t we? That is until we try to explain it to someone over a drink and everyone has a slightly different opinion of what it is.

At sust., we think it's often tricky to define sustainability without going off into technical jargon, and this lack of clarity can be both a help and a hindrance. In our first blog, we are going to explore what sustainability means and how to help you define it to your friends, customers, colleagues and suppliers.

Why is this important? Well, we believe that defining sustainability is quite a personal thing, and if we can nail your definition, then you will be able to demonstrate your passion to your stakeholders, boosting engagement, and hopefully sales too!

The reason why we think it’s fantastic that the term doesn’t have one easy definition is that you can make it mean something specific to you and that is really liberating.

However, the downside is that the concept is unclear, misunderstandings can happen and time is spent debating what sustainability is rather than taking action.

Here at sust., we can help you articulate your definition of sustainability and then land this message in your communications.

Over the coming weeks, we are going to tell you about the different elements of sustainability so you can identify the one that floats your boat, and then pick clear actions for you and your business to take.

To make this nice and easy, we will tell you about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they are 17 goals, defined in 2015, relating to different elements of sustainability. They cover people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships, from no poverty, to climate action, to justice and strong institutions. We think that there will be at least one goal in there that you’re passionate about.

Don't worry, we won't cover them all today! For now, we are going to share our thoughts about what sustainability means to us, to help get you thinking.

According to Investopedia: sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people.

We think that’s a really useful starting point, although it’s perhaps not the most engaging explanation!

For sust., sustainability is all about 3 things:

1. Leaving a positive mark. We want to operate with only a positive impact on our planet, so future generations can enjoy it too. That means limiting carbon emissions with a goal of being net-zero and beyond (when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away) by the time we are 4 years old (in 2025), if not before. We also want to have a positive impact on biodiversity - more to come on this in a few weeks.

2. Building up the community. We are convinced that small actions lead to big changes. If the community comes together, not only can positive changes be made, but relationships can be built, communities strengthened, and progress achieved.

3. Making a reasonable profit. We need to pay our bills, we like to go on holiday and we also want to save for retirement. There’s no shame in this. We believe that as long as we are charging a fair rate, and making a positive difference to our clients, the planet, and our community, then we are ok with this. We will donate a share of our profit to our chosen local charity (to be announced very soon), and we will always try and spend our money locally wherever possible.

So, what should sustainability mean to you?

Working out your definition of sustainability is hugely important to the long-term success of your business and, just as importantly, your own personal fulfillment. At sust., we recommend you give it some serious thought, so you can articulate what it means to you and your business. Whatever it is, be thoughtful, be passionate, and be active. The single most important thing you can do is to incorporate something, anything, into your business that fits in with your definition of sustainability, as long as you are leaving our planet in a better place than how you found it. To help you kick off your thinking, here is a link to the UN SDGs we mentioned at the start of the blog

Keep reading our blog over the coming weeks for more insight and sustainability tips. And, if you would like any support in working out how to incorporate sustainability into your business, then don't hesitate to get in touch. We can work on this together with you, and make it a central part of the way you do things.

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Jun 07, 2021

Very informative and wonderful post!


Apr 07, 2021

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