What is Sustainability?

Image courtesy of GreenCompass.Co

Sustainability has origins in ecology and is described in that field of study as the endurance of systems and processes. Today, we most often link the term “sustainability” to environmentalism. One generally accepted definition for sustainability is: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  To achieve true sustainability, we should expand our focus beyond purely environmental concerns and extend idea to social equity and economic development.

The concept of sustainability is relatively new, with roots in social justice, conservationism and other past movements, which have come together in the call for sustainable development worldwide. Sustainability is a holistic approach that considers ecological, social and economic dimensions, recognizing that all must be considered together to find lasting prosperity.  These dimensions are often referred to as the Three Ps – People, Planet, Profit.

  • People (Social Sustainability): Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people who have access to enough resources to keep their families and communities healthy and secure. A healthy community will have just leaders who ensure personal, labor and cultural rights are respected and all people are protected from discrimination.
  • Planet (Environmental Sustainability): Ecological integrity is maintained and Earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance, while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where the resources can replenish themselves.
  • Profit (Economic Sustainability): Human communities across the globe are able to maintain their independence and have access to the resources they require to meet their needs. Economic systems are intact and secure sources of livelihood are available to everyone.

Sustainability at LJB

Sustainability is incredibly broad, so it is important to adapt it to the local context. Here at LJB, our core purpose is to improve the quality of life, and that mission extends to future generations.  We have already implemented a number of sustainable practices—from geothermal heating in our headquarters building to low flow toilets to providing reusable dishes—to optimize energy use and reduce waste, but we must continue to look inward and self-evaluate.  This year, LJB’s Sustainability Committee will be working to develop its first Sustainability Plan, which will define strategic goals, initiatives and practices that will guide the company in its ongoing mission to improve the quality of life.

There are many individual motivations that propel people to practice sustainability, but there seems to be a common ideal rooted in the kind of future we will leave for the next generation. The people of today, and tomorrow, have the responsibility to create solutions and adapt to provide future generations with the resources they need to live a good and full life.

For tips on how to be more sustainable and live a plastic-free life, check out this video.

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