Not sure about you, but I've been noticing the word "sustainability" being thrown left and right lately. It's probably one of the most commonly used words by brands nowadays, but do you know exactly what it means? Honestly, prior to doing a bit of research, I didn't exactly know what it meant or stood for either.
The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) states that the goal of sustainability is to, "create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations." In order for something to be considered "sustainable," it should consider more than just environmental factors. The term refers to a well-rounded balance between the three pillars: social, economic, and environment. Two without one is just as incomplete as pie without a crust.
The social pillar includes environmental justice, human health, participation, education, resource security, and sustainable communities. This pillar protects the health of and promotes healthy lifestyles for those in the community, encourages company transparency, and engages in educating the public on sustainability.
The economic pillar includes jobs, incentives, supply & demand, natural resource accounting, costs, and prices. This pillar maintains and stimulates the economy and enables the promotion of environmental health and social prosperity.
The economic pillar includes ecosystem services, green engineering & chemistry, air quality, water quality, stressors, and resource integrity. This pillar focuses on protecting the environment and reducing environmental harm.
The best sustainable solutions utilize a well-balanced mix of all three pillars, creating not only a healthier environment but also a healthier community & economy. A lot harder said than done, but through re-evaluating our actions and choices, we can all take a step closer to achieving sustainability together!