Sustainable development is a broad concept that involves judicious use of resources. It also involves fostering innovation and promoting quality education, clean water management, and decent work for all. While these goals are well-known, the benefits of sustainable development extend beyond just the environment. They include improved health and a decrease in pollution-related disease.
The concept of sustainable development was first introduced in the 1987 United Nations Commission on Environment and Development report, Our Common Future. This report defined three pillars of sustainability. These pillars were economic, environmental, and social.
The first pillar focuses on efficient use of resources. In order to ensure long-term profitability, companies must be able to efficiently use their resources. This includes a reduction in the environmental impact of their products, operations, and services. Additionally, the rate of resource extraction should be kept below the rate of generation. However, renewable resources should be used only to the extent that their stock does not deteriorate.
Second, is the social dimension. Social inclusion is a concept that involves the creation of healthy communities and an increase in housing and healthcare services. These initiatives support local needs and ensure that future generations have a place to live.
Third, is the biophysical environment. Sustainability is defined by the Brundtland Report as “the right of all people to a healthy planet for present and future generations.” This definition includes the natural and social dimensions.
Originally, the concept of sustainability was based on weak sustainability. This theory suggested that humanity would eventually exhaust its finite resources. Therefore, we needed to change the way we used common resources.
Similarly, the World Health Organization has made a commitment to sustainable development. The organization’s mission is to improve the health of all populations and protect the planet’s natural resources. By preserving our environment, we can prevent climate change and ensure that future generations have a clean and safe environment to live in.
Although sustainable development is a complex issue, it has a strong framework. Many organizations and activists are focusing their efforts on protecting our planet. The United Nations is a major player in the sustainable development movement. Several countries have passed legislation to address issues such as climate change and pollution.
Another group, the United Nations Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (UNICEF), works to make sure that all children around the world have access to clean water and sanitation. UNICEF also helps to stop the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems and fights desertification.
Another organization, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, has a similar goal. Companies can earn a certificate by meeting certain standards. Depending on the type of certification, businesses can get credit for practicing environmentally friendly practices.
In order for the SDGs to be successful, more businesses need to step up and commit to making a difference. Investing in greener operations can save energy and reduce climate risks. As well, adopting win-win strategies can create cost savings and help improve the health of communities.